Stocks Surge to New Highs on ECB, Jobs

U.S. stocks closed at multi-year highs on Thursday after the European Central Bank announced a bond-buying program to deal with the euro zone’s debt crisis and positive U.S. job data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 244.52 points, or 1.87%, at 13,292.00, its highest close since December 2007. The S&P 500 Index advanced 28.86 points, or 2.04%, to close at 1,432.12, its highest close since January 2008. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 66.64 points, or 2.17%, to close at 3,135.81, its highest close since November 2000.

ECB President Mario Draghi largely confirmed market expectations for potentially unlimited purchases of short dated bonds of countries implementing approved fiscal austerity programs and also said the central bank would legally rank equally with private investors buying the same bonds.

A slew of surprisingly strong economic reports on Thursday raises the chances that Friday’s critical August employment report will be better than had been anticipated by Wall Street economists. The Labor Department is to release the August employment report Friday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

Amazon (AMZN) unveiled two new tablets Thursday, one called the Kindle Paperwhite tablet and a larger version of the Kindle Fire, named the Kindle Fire HD.

American International Group Inc (NYS:AIG – News) launched a widely expected sale of a stake in its former Asian unit AIA (HKG:1299.HK – News) on Thursday, providing the insurer with funding to help repurchase up to $5 billion of its stock from the U.S. government.

Gold futures on Thursday rose to their highest in nearly six months. Gold for December delivery rose $11.60, or 0.7%, to trade at $1,705.60 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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