NEW YORK -- Stocks jumped Thursday after Greece scrapped a referendum on unpopular budget cuts and the European Central Bank unexpectedly cut interest rates. It was the second straight day of big gains.

The central bank surprised markets by cutting its benchmark interest rate a quarter point, to 1.25 percent. The bank had increased its key rate twice this year, before Mario Draghi took over this week. The announcement sent stocks higher as investors hoped that lowering borrowing costs would help prevent a recession in Europe.

Buying intensified in the early afternoon after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou abandoned his effort to put a package of austerity measures to a public vote. A "no" vote could have caused chaos in the European financial system by leading to a messy default on Greece's debt.

Marketing VP is named for newspaper's owner

Mark Mulholland has joined the Evening Post Publishing Co. as vice president of marketing for its newspaper division, it was announced Thursday.

Mulholland comes to Evening Post from the American Press Institute, where he has worked since 2005 as associate director and chief marketing executive.

In his new position, Mulholland will play a significant role in developing and promoting a portfolio of existing and prospective products across print and digital media.

Previously, he held advertising and marketing positions at newspapers including the Roanoke (Va.) Times, Greensboro (N.C.) News & Record, Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger, Chicago Sun-Times and Victoria (Texas) Advocate.

Charleston-based Evening Post owns 13 newspapers, including The Post and Courier. It also owns more than a dozen TV stations.

Robust sales lift Starbucks' net income by 29%

SEATTLE -- Starbucks' fiscal fourth-quarter profit jumped nearly 29 percent on stronger sales of its coffee in its cafes and at other retailers.

The company reported Thursday that it earned $358.5 million. Revenue rose 7 percent to $3 billion, with some benefit from foreign exchange rates.

Mortgage rates at 4%, flirt with all-time lows

WASHINGTON -- The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4 percent this week, nearly matching the all-time low hit one month ago.

Freddie Mac said the rate on the 30-year loan dropped from 4.10 percent last week. Four weeks ago it dropped to 3.94 percent, the lowest rate ever, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.31 percent from 3.38 percent.

Early holiday shipments boost port in Savannah

SAVANNAH -- The Georgia Ports Authority said early shipments of holiday goods helped spur first- quarter growth in cargo moving through its seaports.

Ports chief Curtis Foltz said Thursday the waterfront saw a 5 percent increase in overall tonnage of imports and exports in Savannah and Brunswick in the first quarter of the fiscal year that began July 1. The ports moved 6.5 million tons of cargo.

The Port of Savannah, the key rival to the Port of Charleston, reported a 3.7 percent increase in volume over the same period a year ago. It handled more than 770,000 containers.

Cars and machinery at Brunswick helped boost its breakbulk tonnage by nearly 25 percent.