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Stocks Soar as Europe Calms, China Exports Boom

U.S. stocks roared from the get-go Thursday, led by the energy sector and signs that the eurozone was stabilizing. Gregg Greenberg has The Real Story.



) -- U.S. stocks powered into the close and finished near their highs of Thursday's session, as the


recaptured the 10,000 level and then some, propelled by rebounding energy stocks and as faith in a global rebound picked up on signs of eurozone stabilization and a surge in China's exports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 273 points, or 2.8%, to finish at 10,173. The

S&P 500

improved 31 points, or 3%, to 1087, and the


went ahead by 60 points, or 2.8%, at 2219.

Helping markets on Thursday, the German Constitutional Court rejected efforts to block

Germany from taking part in guarantees that are critical to the stabilization mechanism aimed to strengthening the euro.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies, said the firming euro was the primary driver in today's stock moves, a relationship that has held up and sent the major averages blowing hot and cold in recent weeks.

"This is the volatility we need to get used to," Hogan said of today's rally, noting the link between currency and equity markets. "If the euro goes down from $1.21 to $1.18 tomorrow, I can tell you the market is going down."

"We'll have to get used to this until the focus shifts from the eurozone to the U.S., where things aren't that bad," he added. "We'll have down 2% days and we'll have up 2% days until then."

Also in Europe,

Spain saw strong demand for its €3.9 billion auction of three-year government bonds and the

Bank of England held its base interest rate at a record low of 0.5% for the 16th consecutive month.

Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.1%, and Japan's Nikkei jumped 1.1%. The FTSE in London gained 0.9%, and the DAX in Frankfurt increased 1.2%.

Also lifting investor sentiment was China export data out earlier, which showed a May surge of roughly 50%.

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The Economy

Initial weekly jobless claims fell by 3,000 from last week's upwardly revised level of 459,000 to 456,000 in the week ended June 5. The decline was roughly in line with what economists had been expecting.

"Initial claims on a seasonally adjusted basis have essentially trended sideways this year, showing no firm improving trend," said PNC Chief Economist Stuart Hoffman, adding that the data follows muted private sector job gains in May employment data.

"On a non-seasonally adjusted basis we do see a moderate improving trend. This suggests that one answer to the claims puzzle -- why are they not improving quicker? -- may be that the very weak construction industry, which has a strong seasonal component, could be overpowering improvements in other areas."

The Census Bureau said the U.S. trade deficit widened to $40.3 billion in April from $40 billion in March, which was slightly narrower than the $41.3 billion shortfall that economists had been expecting.

The Energy Information Administration said natural gas supplies gained 99 billion cubic feet in the week ended June 4, which was wider than the injection range of 91 billion to 95 billion cubic feet that analysts polled by Platts had been expecting.

In the afternoon, the Treasury Department said the U.S. budget deficit stood at $135.9 billion in May, down from $189.7 billion one year ago. Wall Street had expected the budget shortfall to drop to $142 billion.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) supported an effort to extend the closing deadline for home buyers who took advantage of a federal tax credit, according to


For those who hurried to sign a deal before an April 30 deadline, Reid wants to extend the deadline to close to the end of September rather than the end of June.


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Company News

Energy stocks showed the strongest gains during Thursday's session with



among the Dow's best performers, after


(CAT) - Get Report


American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

. The

Oil Service HOLDRs ETF

(OIH) - Get Report

climbed 6.5% higher and the S&P 500 was topped by

Anadarko Petroleum

(APC) - Get Report


Baker Hughes



CF Industries

(CF) - Get Report



Securities and Exchange Commission

stepped up its examination into a collateralized debt obligation by

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

that wasn't part of the civil fraud charges previously filed against the firm, according to a

Financial Times

report. Shares hit a new 52-week low today, closing down by 2.2% at $133.77, making it the weakest stock on the S&P.

But other financial names joined in today's rally, with

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report



(C) - Get Report

TheStreet Recommends


JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

adding 3%, 0.8% and 3.2%, respectively.

Cisco Systems

(CSCO) - Get Report

was the Dow's weakest component, while


(WMT) - Get Report


Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report


Procter & Gamble

(MSFT) - Get Report

showed considerably mild gains.

After the bell,


(DELL) - Get Report

said it was revising its first-quarter earnings per share lower by 5 cents. The move reflects a charge for a $100 million reserve set aside for potential settlement of a long-standing SEC investigation, according to


Branded food and pets products company

Del Monte Foods


beat analysts' fourth-quarter profit expectations with earnings of 31 cents a share. Sales of $954 million, however, fell short of the $1 billion in sales that Wall Street had projected.

Insurance underwriting company

Old Republic International

(ORI) - Get Report

agreed to buy all the common stock of

PMA Capital


in a deal that values PMA at $365 million.

A report by the Congressional Oversight Panel, which was created in 2008 to examine the financial bailout, said the government could have taken earlier and more aggressive action to find a private rescue of


(AIG) - Get Report

, according to a

Financial Times

report. The panel said the government's bailout plan for AIG continues to have a "poisonous" effect on capital markets.


(AAPL) - Get Report

could face an antitrust probe into its mobile advertising strategy, according to a

Financial Times

report. The stock finished ahead by $7.31, or 3%, at $250.51. Late in the day,

The Wall Street Journal

was reporting that federal investigators have begun looking into breach.

Lululemon athletica

(LULU) - Get Report

surpassed analysts' estimates for earnings of 21 cents a share with a first-quarter profit of 27 cents a share. Sales of $138.3 million also beat revenue forecasts of $128.2 million.

Shares of security software-maker


(SYMC) - Get Report

also got a boost after it re-upped a deal with


(HPQ) - Get Report



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>>Commodities and the Dollar


Commodities and the Dollar

Following the EIA report, July natural gas shed 3 cents to settle at $4.65 per million British thermal units. Crude oil for July delivery gained $1.10, to settle at $75.48 a barrel

Elsewhere in commodity markets, the August gold contract settled $7.70 lower, at $1,222.20 an ounce.

The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies, with the

dollar index down by 1%.


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The government auctioned off $13 billion in 30-year bonds today. The sale resulted in a yield of 4.182% and an above average bid-to-cover ratio of 2.87, according to MarketWatch.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was losing 1 7/32, raising the yield to 3.321%.

The two-year note was down 4/32, increasing the yield to 0.786%. The 30-year bond was declining 2 5/32, boosting the yield to 4.234%.

--Written by Melinda Peer and Sung Moss in New York



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