US stocks rise on strong consumer confidence data

US stocks rise on strong consumer confidence data, positive sales and earnings reports

Associated Press
US stocks rise on strong economic data

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FILE -In this Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, file photo, trader Christopher Lotito works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. U.S. stock futures are mixed ahead of several corporate earnings reports that had been postponed due to Superstorm Sandy on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. A number of economic indicators on consumers, manufacturing, construction and jobs also come out on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Stocks are rising sharply on Wall Street on the latest hopeful signs about the U.S. economy, including a jump in consumer confidence.

The Conference Board said Americans' confidence in the economy surged last month to the highest level in nearly five years. Many were encouraged by an improving job market.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 156 points at 13,252 at midday Thursday, putting it on track for its biggest gain since mid-September.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 16 to 1,428. The Nasdaq composite index jumped 44 points to 3,021.

It was the second day of trading after Superstorm Sandy ravaged New York and forced markets to close on Monday and Tuesday. Companies that had postponed earnings announcements rushed to release their results.

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