Caterpillar and 3M led the gains among industrial stocks, which rose significantly more than the rest of the market. Caterpillar rose 5 per cent and 3M rose 6 per cent after each company reported earnings that impressed investors.
The Dow Jones industrial average shot up as much as 306 points in afternoon trading Thursday. As of 2:36 p.m. it was up 295 points, or 1.8 per cent, at 16,758.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 33 points, or 1.7 per cent, to 1,960. The Nasdaq composite rose 87 points, or 2 per cent, to 4,469.