The stock market enjoyed its best day in more than a month Thursday as the correction that many professional investors had all but penciled into their calendars didn’t materialize.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 181.04 points, or 1.4%, to 12,986.43. It was the blue-chip index’s best gain since a 218-point rise March 13. In the last two days, the Dow has reclaimed more than half of its 4.1% loss over the preceding five days.
Investors latched on to encouraging comments from the Federal Reserve about interest rates and a rumor that first-quarter economic growth in China will exceed estimates. At least for a day, investors were willing to overlook bad news -- in this case, an unexpected increase in jobless claims that raised further questions about the durability of the U.S. jobs market.
Stocks were buoyed by comments from Fed officials that interest rates will remain low through 2014, and an official with the Bank of Japan said that country will take strong steps to stimulate growth. Stocks fell recently in part because of investor dismay that the central bank is considered unlikely to undertake another round of so-called quantitative easing. But the comments Thursday reinforced the notion that the Fed could take steps if the U.S. recovery proceeds too slowly.