The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 225 points, or 1.3 per cent, to close at 17,416 Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 19 points, or 1 per cent, to 2,021.
The government reported Thursday that weekly claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a 15-year low. Ford, Harley-Davidson, Coach and Ally Financial were among the companies that reported quarterly results that exceeded Wall Street's expectations
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged up to 1.76 per cent from 1.72 late Wednesday.