(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock
markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window.)
* Technology stocks rally
* Big banks rise as profits beat forecasts
* UnitedHealth jumps on strong results
* Indexes up: Dow 1.6%, S&P 500 1.7%, Nasdaq 1.8%
NEW YORK, Oct 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks surged on Thursday
as companies including Bank of America and UnitedHealth gained
following strong results, while data on the labor market and
inflation soothed worries about the outlook for higher rates.
The technology sector gave the S&P 500 its biggest
boost, with gains for shares of Facebook Inc, Microsoft
Corp, Apple Inc and Google parent Alphabet
Gains were broad-based, with the small cap Russell 2000
index up about 1.5%.
Citigroup, Bank of America Corp and Morgan
Stanley topped quarterly earnings estimates as the
rebounding economy allowed them to release more cash they had
set aside for pandemic losses, while sizzling deals, equity
financing and trading added to profits.
Bank of America's shares were up about 4%.
UnitedHealth Group Inc rose 4.2% after the health
insurer reported results and raised its full-year adjusted
profit forecast on strength from its Optum unit that manages
Adding to optimism, data showed the number of Americans
filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week fell close
to a 19-month low, and a separate report showed producer prices
eased in September.
"Some of the things that worried the market in September,
and even last week, as far as the inflation aspect and higher
interest rates and the Delta variant I think maybe have
lessened," said Alan Lancz, president, Alan B. Lancz &
Associates Inc., an investment advisory firm, based in Toledo,
"Not that it's all over, but on a temporary scale at least,
you can make a case for it trending in the right direction."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 542.25 points,
or 1.58%, to 34,920.06, the S&P 500 gained 75.07 points,
or 1.72%, to 4,438.87 and the Nasdaq Composite added
255.23 points, or 1.75%, to 14,826.87.
Also in earnings, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc
jumped after the drugstore chain reported fourth-quarter revenue
and adjusted profit above estimates and forecast growth of 11%
to 13% in the long term.
U.S. companies are expected to report strong quarterly
profit growth for the third quarter, but investors have been
keen to hear what they say about rising costs, labor shortages
and supply problems.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
4.02-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.29-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 31 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 72 new highs and 38 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru and Federica
Urso in Gdansk; Editing by Arun Koyyur and David Gregorio)