STOCKS STAGE BIG RALLY: Here's What You Need To Know

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Stocks erased yesterday's losses and made a move toward new all-time highs.

First the scoreboard:

Dow: 14,831, +130.6 pts, +0.8%
S&P 500: 1,597, +14.8 pts, +0.9%
NASDAQ: 3,340, +41.4 pts, +1.2%

And now the top stories:

  • There was good news and there was bad news.
  • The bad news: Global manufacturing growth stagnated in April. According to purchasing managers index (PMI) reports from around the world, manufacturer activity either decelerated or contracted outright.  Stunningly, Germany — arguably the healthiest economy in Europe — said manufacturing went from expansion to contraction in April.
  • The good news: initial weekly jobless claims fell to 324,000, the lowest reading since January 2008.  Economists were looking for a reading of 345,000. "The continued decline cautions against extrapolating the late-Q1/early-Q2 softness seen in other, recent, growth figures," said UBS's Sam Coffin.
  • All eyes will be on tomorrow official jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "We continue to forecast April payrolls of 130,000 (consensus 145,000) and an unchanged unemployment rate in Friday’s employment report," said Coffin.  "But the softness in headline payrolls that we forecast reflects technical oddities rather than fundamental weakening: The relatively short interval between March and April payroll surveys, with a four-week rather than five-week gap between them, has historically been associated with Apr payrolls about 60k below the surrounding trend."
  • The European Central Bank announced that it would cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 0.50%.  This was largely expected by economists.  During the post-meeting press conference, ECB president Mario Draghi hinted at the possibility of negative interest rates, which was unexpected.  This caused the euro to tank.
  • LinkedIn will announce its Q1 financial results after the closing bell. Follow the release live at BusinessInsider.com.
  • In other news, the Oracle of Omaha Warren Buffett joined Twitter.
  • Don't Miss: 23 Things That Would Have Made A Better First Tweet For Warren Buffett >
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