Wall Street Gains on Earnings Optimism, Waning Syria Jitters

BlackRock gained 1.5 percent after the asset manager’s quarterly profit rose more than expected.

The earnings season begins in earnest on Friday with reports from JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup Inc and Wells Fargo & Co.

Analysts expect quarterly profit for S&P 500 companies to rise 18.4 percent from a year ago, in what would be the biggest gain in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Jobless Claims

Weekly number of people who have filed for unemployment benefits for the first time.

“People are looking forward to earnings season,” said Tracie McMillion, head of global asset allocation strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “Market participants are not wanting to miss out if (earnings are) as good as the forecasts say they will be.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 293.6 points, or 1.21 percent, to 24,483.05, the S&P 500 gained 21.8 points, or 0.83 percent, to 2,663.99, and the Nasdaq Composite added 71.22 points, or 1.01 percent, to 7,140.25.

Investor sentiment was also boosted by the weekly U.S. initial jobless claims report, which pointed to sustained labor market strength.

Facebook Inc was a notable laggard among technology stocks, falling 1.5 percent following a 5.3 percent gain over the past two days when Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress on the social network’s data security.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc shares dived 20.0 percent after the company’s full-year profit forecast missed estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE for a 1.20-to-1 ratio and on the Nasdaq, for a 1.84-to-1 ratio.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.12 billion shares, compared to the 7.27 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

(Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru and Chuck Mikolajczak in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Leslie Adler)

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