NEW YORK (AP) — The pendulum swung again for stocks on Thursday.
The stock market got a boost on Thursday from a couple of encouraging signs that the economy could pick up after a winter slump. That wiped out a drop from the day before triggering by some unnerving news from the Federal Reserve.
Manufacturing in the U.S. expanded at the fastest pace in almost four years in February, according to a private survey by Markit. In a separate report, the Conference Board said that its index of leading indicators posted a moderate gain in January, suggesting that the economy will continue to expand in the first half of the year.
"Today's market is reflecting the fact that the economy has gone through the doldrums due to the weather and we should now see a substantial pickup," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 11.03 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,839.78. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 92.67 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,133.23. The Dow fell 89 points Wednesday after minutes from the Fed's latest meeting showed that a few policymakers raised the possibility that an increase in interest rates should come "relatively soon."
The Nasdaq composite climbed 29.59 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,267.55.
The stock market is now close to erasing all of its losses after a volatile start to the year. Concerns about slowing growth in China and other emerging markets, as well as worries about the health of the U.S. economy, had pushed the S&P 500 down almost six percent for the year by the start of February.
Among individual stocks, Safeway rose after the grocer said it was in talks to put itself up for sale. The grocer's stock climbed 71 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $35.32 after the company said late Wednesday that discussions are ongoing but that it hasn't yet reached an agreement on a transaction.
Tesla Motors was also another winner after posting strong earnings and forecasting a sharp rise in sales this year. Tesla's stock jumped $16.33, or 8.4 percent, to $209.97.
Stocks moved between small gains and losses in the first hour of trading as investors weighed the data from the U.S. against a survey that showed manufacturing in China contracted for a second straight month in February.