After Long Losing Streak, US Stocks Surge on Solid Earnings

new york (AP) —

Stocks soared Thursday as strong earnings reports from market bellwethers like Microsoft and Comcast gave a boost of confidence to investors shaken by the recent wave of selling.

The rally wiped out a large part of the market’s plunge from the day before, but stocks are still down sharply over the past three weeks.

Technology companies rallied after reports from Microsoft and others, while Twitter and Comcast led the way for internet and media companies. Ford’s results helped consumer-focused stocks.

Some encouraging economic news also helped stabilize markets. The Commerce Department said orders to U.S. factories for major manufactured goods grew in September, and the increase was larger than analysts expected.

The S&P 500 index jumped 49.47 points, or 1.9 percent, to 2,705.57. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 401.13 points, or 1.6 percent, to 24,984.55 after rising as much as 520 points during the day. The Nasdaq surged 209.93 points, or 3 percent, to 7,318.34 after its biggest drop in seven years.

Stock trading turned volatile in October, with big sell-offs in the sectors that have powered the bulk of the gains during the market’s long bull run. Even after Thursday’s gains, the S&P 500 is down 7.5 percent since Oct. 3 as investors worried about climbing interest rates and the effects of the U.S-China trade dispute. The Nasdaq has plummeted 8.8 percent.

Microsoft surpassed analysts’ forecasts in the first quarter as it mined new revenue sources in online subscriptions, gaming and its LinkedIn professional networking service. Shares of the tech giant jumped 5.8 percent to $108.30.

Earnings for S&P 500 companies have been growing at a clip of better than 20 percent this year, but much of that comes from last year’s corporate tax cut, so it won’t be repeated next year. While investors expect earnings to keep rising, they’re not sure how much growth to expect, and that’s contributed to the recent selling.

Those concerns could surface again as early as Friday. Investors didn’t like what they heard from Amazon and Alphabet when they reported their results after the close of trading. The internet retailer dropped 9.1 percent in aftermarket trading while Google’s parent company lost 4.8 percent.

The Russell 2000 index gained 31.70 points, or 2.2 percent, to 1,500.40. The index has fallen 13.8 percent since the end of August and is down 2.3 percent so far this year.

U.S. bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 3.12 percent.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.8 percent to $67.33 a barrel. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, rose 0.9 percent to $76.89 a barrel.

Wholesale gasoline lost 0.5 percent to $1.81 a gallon. Heating oil added 1.2 percent to $2.28 a gallon and natural gas gained 1.1 percent to $3.20 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose 0.1 percent to $1,232.40 an ounce. Silver fell 0.3 percent to $14.63 an ounce. Copper dipped 0.1 percent to $2.75 a pound.

The dollar climbed to 112.61 yen from 112.44 yen. The euro fell to $1.1359 from $1.1387.

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