Stocks Rise on Improved Global View

U.S. stocks climbed on Thursday, with the S&P 500 index finishing at a five-year high, as stronger-than-expected exports from China spurred optimism about global growth prospects. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 80.71 points, or 0.60%, to 13,471.22. The S&P 500 index gained 11.10 point, or 0.76%, to 1,472.12. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 15.95 points, or 0.51%, to 3,121.76.

December exports data from China beat expectations, while European Central Bank President Mario Draghi projected that the euro zone’s economy would bounce back later this year.

American Express Co said it would cut about 5,400 jobs, and take about $600 million in after-tax charges in the fourth quarter, which will halve its net income for the period. The credit card company said it would employ 4 to 6 percent fewer people by the end of 2013, compared to its current headcount of 63,500.

Google will be forced to change the way it presents search results in Europe or face antitrust charges for “diverting traffic” to its own services, the EU’s competition chief has said, laying out a sharply different approach from his US counterparts.

Oil futures rose Thursday, settling near $94 a barrel.  February crude futures rose 72 cents, or 0.8%, to $93.82 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract touched a high of $94.70.

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