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Stocks Rise on Fed Stimulus Hopes

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks jumped Thursday on ballooning hopes that additional stimulus is on the way from the Federal Reserve following a disappointing initial jobless claims number.

Adding to the positive sentiment late in the day was a report from Reuters late in the session that the central banks of the world's biggest economies are prepping a coordinated response to stabilize the situation if the outcome of Greece's general elections this weekend spooks the markets.

Trading has been volatile all week ahead of the elections, which are seen as a referendum on whether the country will be able to remain part of the eurozone.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 155 points, or 1.2%, to close at 12,652, returning to positive territory for the week. The blue-chip index hit a high of 12,699 during the session.

The S&P 500 added 14 points, or 1.1%, to finish at 1329, and the Nasdaq gained nearly 18 points, or 0.60%, to settle at 2836.

Within the Dow, 28 of the index's 30 components rose, led by Home Depot (HD), Bank of America (BAC), Travelers (TRV) and Walt Disney (DIS).

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Conglomerates, consumer staples, healthcare and services lead the gains in the broad market, where winners outpaced losers by a more than 2-to-1 ratio on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq.

American Express (AXP) and Boeing (BA) were the only blue chips moving lower.

Reports that Greek citizens were emptying their bank accounts ahead of the elections continued to roll in but their impact was countered by rumblings that support is building for the country's pro-bailout political parties.

"The near-term danger is the bank runs in Europe, and we're seeing large outflows out of Greek banks and we're starting to see them out of Spanish banks as well," said Brad Sorensen, market and sector research director, Charles Schwab. "It's certainly not a bank run yet, but it's never a bank run until it is a bank run."

In France, President François Hollande's Socialist Party and other leftists look to be on that path to victory in the French National Assembly after last Sunday's first round of voting; the decisive vote is slated to occur this Sunday.

That the second round could solidify Hollande's power "is somewhat concerning," said Sorensen, since he has been adamant about renegotiating some of the terms of the austerity measures that France had agreed to in the past, which Germany could look at unfavorably.

"If France and Germany can't come to an agreement [about how to combat the eurozone crisis], there's really no hope of a massive eurozone type agreement going forward," said Sorensen.
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