(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed on a sharply higher note following remarks by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who detailed the central bank's new bond-purchase plan to protect the euro. A set of upbeat domestic economic readings also boosted sentiment.
S&P 500 Index jumped 2.04 percent to finish at 1,432.11, reaching its highest level since May 2008. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 1.87 percent to end at 13,292.00. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 2.17 percent to close at 3,135.81.
Draghi said the new bond-buying program will provide a "fully effective backstop" against market volatility and the measures will safeguard the monetary policy transmission in all countries in the euro zone area. The ECB kept its main interest rate unchanged on Thursday.
On the domestic economic front, the ADP National Employment report showed that U.S. private sector added 201,000 jobs in August, up from a revised 173,000 in July, and also topped expectations for an addition of 140,000 jobs.
The number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits were fewer than expected for the week ended Sept. 1, a government data showed. Jobless claims fell 12,000 to 365,000 last week from a revised 377,000, while economists projected 370,000 applications.
The labor data come ahead of keenly-anticipated nonfarm payrolls report for August on Friday, with expectations of addition of 120,000 jobs and unemployment rate held steady at 8.3 percent.
The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index for August increased to 53.7 from 52.6 in July, also topped expectations of a reading of 52.5 percent.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: AMZN, NAV,SHLD, CELG, WCRX, WWW, PAY, MW, OCZ, FCEL
In corporate news, Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) rose 2.10 percent after the company unveiled a new e-reader called the Kindle Paperwhite as it seeks to compete with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad.
Navistar International Corp. (NYSE:NAV) jumped 17.44 percent after the truck maker reported better-than-expected revenue for the third quarter.
Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:SHLD) added 10.09 percent after a regulatory filing disclosed the retailer's Chairman Eddie Lampert purchased 2.4 million shares at $52.75 apiece.
Celgene Corp. (NASDAQ:CELG) gained 4.97 percent after the company's psoriatic arthritis treatment met its objectives in a late-stage study.
VeriFone Systems Inc. (NYSE:PAY) plunged 13.65 percent after the provider of secure electronic payment services issued a downbeat revenue guidance for the fourth quarter following weaker-than-expected third-quarter revenue.
Warner Chilcott Plc (NASDAQ:WCRX) slumped 9.80 percent. The Ireland-based drug company's three largest shareholders plan to sell most of their company shares.
Wolverine World Wide Inc. (NYSE:WWW) shed 5.33 percent after the footwear and apparel maker reduced its guidance for the third quarter due to challenging conditions in Europe.
Men's Wearhouse Inc. (NYSE:MW) shares jumped 18.69 percent after the Houston, Texas-based company raised its guidance for the full year following better-than-estimated quarterly earnings.
OCZ Technology Group Inc. (NASDAQ:OCZ) tumbled 18.84 percent after the maker of solid-state drives (SSDs) reduced its revenue outlook for the second quarter, blaming constraints in NAND flash supply. FBN Securities downgraded rating on the shares to "Underperform" from "Sector Perform".
FuelCell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ:FCEL) retreated 11.34 percent after the company posted a wider-than-expected loss for the third quarter.
European markets ended sharply higher, with Germany's DAX jumping 2.91 percent to close at 7,862.00. France's CAC40 rose 3.06 percent to finish at 3,509.88. U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 2.11 percent to end at 5,777.34.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index added 0.70 percent to finish at 2,051.92. Japan's Nikkei 225 inched up 0.01 percent to end at 8,680.57. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.34 percent to close at 19,209.30. India's BSE Sensex closed at 17,346.27, up 0.19 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures declined 0.45 percent to $94.930 per barrel and natural gas futures fell 0.93 percent to $2.769 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures added 0.61 percent to $1,704.3 per ounce and silver futures jumped 1.19 percent to $32.715 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro added 0.27 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2635. The British pound advanced 0.23 percent against the greenback to 1.5938, and the dollar gained 0.63 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.8800.