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US stocks move higher; movie fuels Disney jump

Feb. 07, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- Encouraging news about the job market and strong earnings from Disney helped drive U.S. stocks sharply higher in afternoon trading Thursday.

A day after posting a modest loss, the Dow Jones industrial average was close to its biggest gain of the year.

Investors were looking ahead to the government's January employment survey, due out Friday, and what it will augur for the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 169 points, or 1.1 percent, to 15,609 as of 3:18 p.m. Eastern time. The last time the Dow gained 1 percent was Dec. 18.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 20 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,772. The Nasdaq composite gained 45 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,056.

The Walt Disney Co. reported better-than-anticipated earnings for its first fiscal quarter late Wednesday. The media giant got a lift from its movie hit "Frozen" and sales of the "Disney Infinity" video game. The stock rose $3.66, or 5.1 percent, to $75.43.

The gains were broad. Nine of the S&P 500's 10 sectors rose. Only telecommunications stocks fell. Three stocks rose for every one that fell.

"The fear in the markets has subsided some," said Marc Doss, regional chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank.

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