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U.S. stock market moves sharply higher

Traders work on the floor of the New

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during morning trading on Tuesday. The Dow rose 180.85 points to close at 15,176.08 on Thursday. (June 11, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

Good news about hiring and spending at retail businesses helped send the U.S. stock market sharply higher Thursday.

The pair of government reports offered more encouragement that the U.S. economic recovery will continue, even as Europe and Japan struggle.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 180.85 points, or 1.2 percent, to 15,176.08. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.32 percent to 3,445.36. The Standard & Poor's 500 index soared 1.48 percent, to 1,636.36. The gains were broad. All 10 industry groups within the S&P 500 rose, led by retailers and other consumer-discretionary companies.

"The underlying fundamentals of our economy are clearly doing much better," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial in Waltham, Mass.

Markets have been turbulent since May 21 when the S&P hit an all-time high of 1,669. The index began sliding the next day when the Federal Reserve said it would consider pulling back its support for the economy this year.

Bob Baur, chief global economist at Principal Global Investors in Des Moines, Iowa, said the U.S. economic recovery will pick up speed later this year, which could help push corporate earnings and the stock market higher.

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