Stocks surge to new highs on ECB bond-buying plan

Thu Sep 6, 2012 3:56pm EDT
 
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By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks in the U.S. and Europe soared and the euro rose on Thursday after the European Central Bank announced a bond-buying program to deal with the euro zone's debt crisis.

ECB President Mario Draghi largely confirmed market expectations for potentially unlimited purchases of short dated bonds of countries implementing approved fiscal austerity programs and also said the central bank would legally rank equally with private investors buying the same bonds.

Draghi justified the plan on the grounds that it would help the central bank's monetary policy complement economic restructuring by euro zone governments and restore economic growth.

Spanish and Italian bond yields fell, while U.S. Treasury and German bund yields jumped as the need for safe-haven investments fell with the ECB plan seen reducing the risk of a euro zone break up.

"Draghi with his debt purchase details this morning will move Europe from a bad to a good equilibrium," said Chris Rupkey, financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in New York.

The U.S. Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 217.11 points, or 1.66 percent, at 13,264.59 late afternoon in New York. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was up 26.43 points, or 1.88 percent, at 1,429.87, its highest level in four years.

The rise in U.S. stocks was helped by reports showing American companies added staff in August at the fastest clip in five months and an improvement in service sector employment. A third report showed new claims for jobless benefits fell last week to the lowest level in a month.

U.S. private employers added a stronger-than-expected 201,000 jobs in August, according to payrolls processor ADP, while the government said new claims for jobless benefits fell last week to the lowest level in a month.   Continued...

 
A cameraman stands in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange August 29, 2012. REUTERS/Remote/Lizza May David