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Stock market closes with solid gains

Trader Peter Tuchman works on the floor of

Trader Peter Tuchman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

After an up-and-down morning, stocks rose steadily through the afternoon Thursday, as the banking and tech sectors rose and data hinted that weakness in manufacturing may be easing.

At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 212.3 points, about 1.3 percent, to 16,697.3. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 21.9 points, about 1.1 percent, to 1,951.7. The Nasdaq composite added 39.6 points, about 0.9 percent, to 4,582.2.

At the same time, the price of benchmark U.S. crude oil was up 82 cents, about 2.6 percent, at $32.97 in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price of Brent crude, the international benchmark, gained 73 cents, about 2.1 percent, to $35.14 in London.

“We got some good news this morning from jobless claims and durable goods orders that came in noticeably stronger than expected,” analyst Alan Gayle, a senior strategist for Atlanta-based Ridgeworth Investments, told Bloomberg News. “We had some encouraging macro news that gave the markets the impetus to move higher, particularly on the back of yesterday’s close. After a tough down market, there’s some budding optimism that the worst is perhaps over.”

U.S. equities broke higher in the early afternoon after struggling for direction throughout the morning with conflicting signals abroad. China’s stocks tumbled the most in a month as surging money-market rates signaled tighter liquidity.

Meanwhile, European shares surged, pace by Lloyds Banking Group, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rising 2 percent.

Concern that a slowdown of the Chinese economy is deepening, compounded by falling commodity prices led by crude, has roiled equity markets since August.

With reports from Bloomberg News

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