* Retail sales seen strong in September
* Fed minutes to be released 2:00 pm EDT (1800 GMT
* Indexes up: Dow 0.7 pct, S&P 0.8 pct, Nasdaq 0.4 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Oct 4 U.S. stocks rose for a fourth
session on Thursday following encouraging comments by European
Central Bank President Mario Draghi on tools to tackle the
region's debt crisis and in support of the euro.
Financial shares led the market higher after Draghi said the
ECB was ready to buy the bonds of euro zone member countries
that ask for it, leaving the door open to a widely expected
bailout of Spain.
"Draghi has not disappointed the markets today," said Peter
Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in
"The dollar is weak and we see risk coming back into the
market," said Cardillo, referring to Draghi's comment that the
euro is "irreversible" in an affirmation of his commitment to
the currency and the region's monetary system.
Speaking at a regular monthly news conference, Draghi also
said "significant progress" had been made in Spain to bring
order to its finances, although more was needed.
Also supporting stocks, data showed that fewer Americans
than expected had filed new claims for unemployment benefits
last week, suggesting a mild improvement in the labor market. A
separate report showed factory orders fell slightly less than
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 96.13 points,
or 0.71 percent, to 13,590.74. The S&P 500 rose 11.44
points, or 0.79 percent, to 1,462.43. The Nasdaq Composite
added 13.01 points, or 0.42 percent, to 3,148.24.
The weaker dollar helped lift prices of crude oil and basic
metals, boosting shares in the energy and materials sectors.
Hewlett-Packard shares fell 4.2 percent to $14.30,
adding to Wednesday's 13 percent slide after Chief Executive Meg
Whitman warned of an unexpectedly steep earnings slide in 2013.
The Federal Reserve releases minutes from the Sept. 12-13
meeting of its policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee at
2:00 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT).
Data showed September sales looked solid as shoppers wrapped
up back-to-school buying and put the brakes on more big spending
before the holiday season.
Costco Wholesale shares rose 1.6 percent to $101.25
after it reported a better-than-expected 6 percent rise in
September sales at stores open at least a year.