Updated from 4:03 p.m. EST
Stocks closed sharply higher Thursday, amid sinking oil prices, as investors restarted last week's postelection rally after three sessions of small moves.
added 84.36 points, or 0.8%, to 10,469.84, surpassing its 2004 break-even level of 10,453.92; the
was up 10.57 points, or 0.9%, to 1173.48, topping its 32-month closing high of last Friday; while the
added 26.71 points, or 1.3%, to 2061.27, the highest close since April.
The blue-chip index is the last of the three main indices to turn positive again for the year, having last traded at this level in June. The Nasdaq returned to positive territory last week, while the S&P 500 has bounced around the break-even level for most of the year. The S&P 500 is up almost 6% in 2004.
More than 1.39 billion shares traded on the
. Some 1.76 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. Advancing stocks outpaced declining ones by a 2-to-1 margin on both exchanges.
The December oil futures contract closed down $1.44 to $47.42 in Nymex floor trading. Prices are at a seven-week low.
Brian Williamson, an equity trader with Boston Company Asset Management, said the session was proceeding fairly quietly, despite the gains.
"The drop in oil seems to be the main catalyst for moving up here," Williamson said. "Still, we seem to have a bit of a hangover after the disappointing reaction to yesterday's
The death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was seen as mildly bullish for stocks and oil because of its potential impact on the stalled Mideast peace talks. Arafat, 75, died in a Paris hospital early Thursday, having been in a coma in recent days.
In other markets, gold was slightly lower, and the dollar was down against the Japanese yen and the euro. The Treasury's 10-year note ended Wednesday yielding 4.25%; the Treasury market is closed today because of the Veterans Day holiday.
The major indices closed mixed but little changed Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates 25 basis points for the fourth time since late June. The Fed also signaled a continuation of its current monetary policy.
In corporate news,
reported third-quarter results after the bell that met estimates. The PC leader earned $846 million, or 33 cents a share, on revenue of $12.5 billion. The company earned 26 cents a share in the year-ago period.
posted net income of $537 million, or 60 cents a share, compared with $302 million, or 33 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Based on continuing operations, the company earned 37 cents a share, vs. 30 cents a share in the year-ago period. Analysts expected 38 cents a share. Shares lost 7 cents to $50.61.
was in focus after the company rejected
latest takeover bid, worth $24 a share. Shares fell 30 cents to $22.49.
reported net income of $20.8 million, or 14 cents a share, vs. $28 million, or 19 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The consensus expectation was 19 cents a share. The retailer also lowered fourth-quarter guidance. Shares shed 2.1% to $30.05.
scaled back its long-term targets for earnings and sales growth; it expects operating-income growth of 6% to 8% and earnings-per-share growth in the high-single digits, down from the previously expected 11% to 12% growth. The stock dipped 18 cents tp $40.98.
There were no major economic reports on the calendar today. Retail sales for October are due out Friday at 8:30 a.m. EST, while the University of Michigan reports preliminary consumer sentiment for November.