Stocks Soar on Draghi's Eurozone Pledge

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks soared Thursday with investors seizing on a promise by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to pull out all stops to keep the eurozone intact.

"The ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro," said Draghi at an investors conference in London. "And believe me, it will be enough."

The rally also drew confidence from favorable U.S. economic data, including a fall in weekly initial jobless claims and an increase in durable goods orders.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 212 points, or 1.67%, at 12,888. The blue-chip index, which ran as high as 12,931 earlier in the session, has now appreciated 5.49% so far in 2012.

Twenty-nine of the Dow's 30 components finished in positive territory with Cisco ( CSCO) being the only exception. The biggest percentage gainers in the index were 3M ( MMM), Alcoa ( AA), American Express ( AXP), AT&T ( T), Chevron ( CVX), Coca-Cola ( KO), General Electric ( GE), Home Depot ( HD) and Walt Disney ( DIS); all rising more than 2%.

It didn't hurt that earnings reports from a trio of Dow components were all fairly positive.

United Technologies ( UTX) shares ticked up after the company posted a slight increase in quarterly earnings on a year-over-year basis as slowing Chinese economic growth and the European crisis hurt sales. The company managed to beat on the bottom line but was light on the top line.

3M shares were up 2.4% after the diversified technology company beat quarterly earnings estimates amid strength in its health care, industrial and transportation businesses. 3M reported a second-quarter profit of $1.66 a share; analysts expected $1.65 a share. Sales of $7.53 billion came in about $250 million below the Wall Street target. 3M's full-year outlook was unchanged.

Shares of Exxon Mobil ( XOM) added 1.5% after the oil and gas giant reported second-quarter earnings of $1.86 a share on revenue of $127.36 billion; analysts expected earnings of $1.95 a share on revenue of $115.08 billion.

The S&P 500 surged 22 points, or 1.65%, to close at 1360, while the Nasdaq advanced 39 points, or 1.37%, to settle at 2893.

The strongest sectors in the broad market were consumer non-cyclicals, conglomerates and energy. Advancers outpaced decliners by roughly 2-to-1 ratios on both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

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