From The Associated Press
NEW YORK —
Encouraging signs out of China and Europe are helping stocks finish sharply higher.
The Dow Jones industrial average surged 181 points to close at 12,987 Thursday, a gain of 1.4 percent. It was the biggest jump for the Dow since March 13.
China’s central bank reported a surprising jump in loans in March. That eased concerns about a sudden slowdown in the Chinese economy. Italy easily sold $6.4 billion in government debt, giving investors a breather from worrying about Europe’s debt crisis.
In other trading, the S&P 500 index rose 19 points to 1,388. The Nasdaq composite index gained 39 points to 3,056.
Nearly five stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was below average at 3.5 billion.