If Wednesday's stock market activity was driven by concern about rising bond yields and the impact they would have on borrowing costs and consumer spending, Thursday's activity largely smoothed over those concerns.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 8403.80, up 103.78 points, or 1.3 per cent. The broader S&P 500 closed at 906.83, up 13.77 points, or 1.5 per cent.
These indexes moved in a tight trading range in early activity during the day, with investors trying to figure out whether the latest reading on U.S. durable goods orders, initial jobless claims and new home sales supported the thesis that the economy had bottomed out.
But a successful auction of seven-year U.S. Treasury bonds, which calmed fears that the market for U.S. bonds had essentially evaporated, is what got the market revving.
Financials were mostly higher, with JPMorgan Chase & Co. up 5.7 per cent and Bank of America Corp. up 3.6 per cent.
Procter & Gamble rose 1.6 per cent even after the consumer products maker issued a sales forecast that was well below its long-term target. The company believes so-called organic sales (which ignore acquisitions), will rise 1 per cent to 3 per cent in fiscal 2010, against an average of 4 per cent to 6 per cent.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 10,392.37, up 250.21 points, or 2.5 per cent - hitting its highest level since early October. Curiously, a Big Bank sat at either end of the performance spectrum: One was the biggest mover on the index, while another was the biggest laggard.
Toronto-Dominion Bank surged 6.7 per cent after investors took a liking to the better-than-expected second quarter results. On the other hand, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce fell 4.5 per cent after it reported a loss for the quarter.
However, energy stocks were particularly hot after the price of crude oil rose to a six-month high above $65 (U.S.) a barrel. Suncor Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. each rose 4.5 per cent.