Markets surge up; Dow gains more than 400 points
After wild gyrations in its final minutes, the Dow Jones industrial average finished up 423 points, or 3.9%, to 11,143. The largest gain in history happened on Oct. 13, 2008, when the Dow gained 936 points.
The S&P 500 closed up 51 points, a 4.6% increase. The Nasdaq is up 4.7%, or 111 points, to 2,493.
Earlier in the day, the Labor Department said 395,000 people applied for jobless benefits, the lowest level since April. Hopeful investors translated the report as a sign that the economy might not be heading toward a double-dip recession.
Thursday's close was a stunning reversal of the Dow's 519-point plummet on Wednesday. Wall Street has had a suspenseful week as the market's reactions to the nation's credit downgrade and a European debt crisis veered between fear and faith.
-- Tiffany Hsu
Photo: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Credit: Andrew Gombert / EPA