US benchmarks finished at their best levels in years on Thursday after the European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi unveiled details of the bank's bond-buying programme.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at its highest level since the end of December 2007, the S&P 500
was up at levels last seen in January 2008, while the Nasdaq jumped to its best level since Novemer 2000.
Just one month after promising to do "whatever it takes to preserve the euro", Draghi announced that the ECB would embark on an unlimited bond purchase programmeof notes on the secondary market with maturities between one and three years. They would be 'sterilised' so as to avoid the inflationary pressures which excessive growth in the money supply is thought to engender in the long-run.
Speaking after the ECB maintained its key interest rate at 0.75%, Draghi said that the purchases, known as Outright Monetary Transactions, will "enable us address severe distortions in government bond markets which originate from, in particular, unfounded fears on the part of investors of the reversibility of the euro."
Economic data comes in solid
US private sector employment rose by 201,000 in August (Consensus: 140,000), according to the latest report out from payrolls processing firm ADP.
First-time jobless claims fell 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 365,000 last week, the largest weekly drop since mid-July. The market had been expecting the number of claimants signing on for the first time last week to be around 373,000.
The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index rose to 53.7 in August, a three-month high, from 52.6 in July, keeping its head above the 50-level which marks the border between expansion and contraction. The market had been expecting a reading of 52.5.
Portable computer storage specialist Sandisk jumped as reports emerged of a shortage of NAND flash memory chips, causing shares
of Micron Technology to rise strongly. Sector peer OCZ took a hammering after it cut its revenue guidance, citing supply constraints.
Disk drive maker Seagate was another computer storage firm that was on the skids; Needham cut its rating for the disk drive maker to "hold" from "strong buy".
Online retailer Amazon saw its shares hit an all-time high after revealing the new version of its Kindle Fire HD tablet.
Credit card terminals operator VeriFone Systems fell after its third-quarter sales figures, released after the bell yesterday, came in below expectations.
Glass bottle maker Owens-Illinois was wanted after it reiterated that it expects to generate free cash flow of at least $0.25bn this year.
Drug store chain Walgreen was off colour as its sales in the three months to the end of August came in below expectations by $0.1bn, at $17.2bn.