* Italian bond yields fall after auctions
* Rumors about China's GDP boost risk appetite
* U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly jump in latest week
* Dow up 1.3 pct, S&P up 1.3 pct, Nasdaq up 1.3 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, April 12 U.S. stocks rose on Thursday
as lower yields on some euro-zone debt eased some concerns and
rumors about China's strong GDP increased investors' appetite
The S&P 500 popped above its 50-day moving average in a sign
that traders may see the recent pullback of nearly 5 percent as
an opportunity to catch up with the benchmark's performance. The
index is up 10 percent for the year to date.
In a sign that the U.S. labor market's recovery may be
stalling, government data showed new U.S. claims for
unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly last week to their
highest level since January. But some economists cited the
Easter holidays for the spike in claims, adding that they
expected applications will keep declining in the weeks ahead.
Benchmark bond yields in Italy and Spain dropped following
an Italian auction of three-year notes, while the euro hit a
one-week high against the U.S. dollar, signaling a reduction in
near-term concern about the euro zone's debt troubles.
"The easing bond yields are a signal to investors here that
things aren't quite that bad in Europe," said Brian Gendreau,
market strategist with Cetera Financial Group.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 167.22
points, or 1.30 percent, at 12,972.61. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 17.36 points, or 1.27 percent, at 1,386.06.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 38.54 points, or 1.28
percent, at 3,055.
Basic materials shares led gains as the euro climbed against
the U.S. dollar and commodity prices advanced. The S&P materials
sector index jumped 2.8 percent. U.S. Steel shot
up 6.3 percent to $29.03. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
rose 6 percent to $37.94.
Early into earnings season, results are beating Wall
Street's expectations at a fast clip. Analysts say the
expectations could have been lowered too much and stocks can
seem cheap after the S&P's recent pullback of almost 5 percent.
"What early reports we have already show a pretty good beat
rate," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment officer of Wells
Capital Management in Minneapolis. "I wonder if we're going to
beat the low hurdle of earnings."
Market participants also cited expectations that China's
gross domestic product would surprise on the upside as a reason
for gains in basic materials shares.
"Basic materials and industrials could be up on bets the
Chinese GDP report tonight might be better than expected," Wells
Capital's Paulsen said.
Shares of Hong Kong and Shanghai rose overnight on optimism
about easier monetary policy in China and a better-than-expected
The U.S. Federal Reserve is running through data to
determine if last month's soft non-farm payrolls report was a
weather-related setback or a sign the recovery is losing
momentum, said William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York.
Dudley left the door open to additional stimulus measures if
the economic recovery gets off track. Previous rounds of
quantitative easing have been a boost for equities and other