ECB plans for a larger than anticipated stimulus helped lift U.S. stocks in a choppy session. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Super Mario gave the markets even more than what they had expected: a huge bond buying program to stimulate the European economy. That move by president Mario Draghi's European Central Bank lifted investors' spirits, driving stocks higher. Phoenix Financial Services chief market analyst Wayne Kaufman: SOUNDBITE: WAYNE KAUFMAN, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST, PHOENIX FINANCIAL SERVICES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It gives people some confidence they are doing something to try to fight deflation. That's the big issue." Economic data out Thursday was supportive. U.S. jobless claims fell last week, suggesting an improvement in labor conditions. And home prices rose in November. Traffic perked up at Starbucks during the holiday season easing investor jitters about growth. Also encouraging: Starbucks earnings and revenues were in line with forecasts. Janus's shares jumped higher. Bond king Bill Gross is investing more than $700 million of his own money in the fund he runs at Janus Capital. Janus earlier reported profits that beat expectations. Family Dollar shareholders didn't go for the bigger money. They approved Dollar Tree's smaller $8.5 billion acquisition offer, rejecting Dollar General's $9.1 billion bid. Shares of all three companies rose. Up, up and away for airline stocks. Alaska, United Airlines and Southwest projected sharply lower fuel costs in the current quarter. Verizon lost money in its latest quarter due to pension costs. Promotions lured more subscribers, but cut into its profit margins. Investors not chipper about two chip stocks. Xilinx and SanDisk issued forecasts that were short of analysts estimates. Cold weather ... cold numbers for Lands' End. The clothing retailer projected lower merchandise revenue in the current quarter after poor sales of its cold weather apparel. In Europe, banks and auto stocks led European markets higher after the ECB's stimulus move.