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Stocks Finish Higher on Jobs Data, China Stimulus Hopes

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The major U.S. stock averages surged Thursday, getting a lift from an encouraging snapshot of labor market conditions and expectations for stimulus from China.

Investors were also provided the outline of Spain's stringent 2013 budget plan, which will focus heavily on spending reductions and is viewed as a precursor to a formal request by the country for international aid.

These factors were offsetting a downward revision in second-quarter gross domestic product and a sharp drop in durable goods orders in August.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 72 points, or 0.54%, to close at 13,486. The blue-chip index, which had fallen in the past four sessions, began the day up a little less than 10% so far this year.

Breadth within the Dow was positive with winners ahead of losers, 23 to 6 and Procter & Gamble (PG) finishing flat. The biggest gainers were Bank of America (BAC), General Electric (GE), and Intel (INTC).

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) shares were up incrementally, recovering from early losses after Jefferies slashed its view of the PC giant to underperform from hold and cut its price target to $14 from $17.

Dow laggards included Wal-Mart (WMT), United Technologies (UTX), and AT&T (T).

The S&P 500 traded up nearly 14 points, or 0.96%, to settle at 1447, while the Nasdaq gained 43 points, or 1.39%, to finish at 3137.

The broad market was entirely in the green, led by strength in the basic materials, consumer cyclical, technology, energy and financial sectors. Advancers outpaced decliners by a ratio of 3-to-1 on the New York Stock Exchange and 2.7-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

Volume totaled 3.13 billion on the Big Board and 1.69 billion on the Nasdaq.

The FTSE 100 in London closed up 0.20% and the DAX in Germany closed up 0.19% Thursday. Spanish borrowing costs cooled as the country's government announced a 2013 budget plan that would reduce ministries' budgets by 8.9% and said that it was certain its 6.3% deficit target for 2012 would be achieved.

Also, Greek coalition partners have agreed on most of the budget cuts needed to obtain additional help.

Meantime, speculation that the China's securities regulator plans to reveal market-boosting plans sent Asian markets higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index finished up 1.14% while the Nikkei Average in Japan closed up 0.48%.
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