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Stocks Return to Preattack Levels

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 retrace the losses of the last month. The Dow adds 1.8%.

Updated from 2:57 p.m. EDT

Stocks closed higher Thursday as investors continued to celebrate the U.S.-led coalition's apparent military successes in Afghanistan, helping the major averages build on the prior session's broad-based rally.

Tech stocks and blue-chips had a big day, and the


and the

S&P 500

closed above their levels before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

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closed up 169.59 points, or 1.8%, to 9410.45. The Nasdaq gained 75.21 points, or 4.6%, to 1701.47, and the S&P added 16.44 points, or 1.5%, to 1097.43. Thursday morning, buyers stampeded to the specialist posts as rumors spread that terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden had been captured. The Pentagon quickly put that talk to rest, and equities had to deal with a minor retreat. But within minutes, investors shrugged off the fact that bin Laden was still presumably at large, and continued bidding up stocks.

About 2.47 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq, while the

New York Stock Exchange

traded 1.65 billion shares.

The European Central Bank left rates unchanged at a meeting Thursday, a decision that initally pressured Europe's bourses before they settled in positive territory. London's FTSE 100 finished with a gain of 12 points, or 0.2%, at 5165. Germany's DAX ended ahead by 2.3% at 4718. In Paris, the CAC-40 gained 0.3% to 4331. Japan's Nikkei was up 3.8% to 10,347, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 2.2% to 10,523.

Bombing continued for a fifth night over Afghanistan Thursday, this time focusing on troop concentrations, reports said. Meanwhile, the U.S. government offered a $5 million reward for information about its 22 "most-wanted" terrorists.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial unemployment claims fell by 67,000 in the latest week. But the decline reflected a reporting quirk, and the four-week moving average continued to show claims rising.

Around 4 p.m. EDT, the 10-year Treasury note was down 20/32 at 102 17/32, yielding 4.67%. Earlier, the dollar hit its highest levels in a month against the yen, the euro and Britain's pound.