NEW YORK -- Investors sent the Dow Jones industrials back above 10,000 after a stream of upbeat economic news convinced them that maybe things aren't so bad after all.
The Dow rose 273 points to 10,172. All the major indexes climbed more than 2.5 percent. Falling Treasury prices pushed interest rates higher as demand for safe investments eased.
Energy stocks led the market higher after they slid late Wednesday on concerns that BP would be forced to cut its dividend because of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP PLC rose 12.3 percent from a 14-year low, while Anadarko Petroleum Corp., which has a minority stake in the rig that caused the spill, rose 12.4 percent.
Most bank stocks rose but Goldman Sachs Group Inc. fell 2.2 percent to its lowest level in a year following news reports that it was the target of another investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC has already filed civil fraud charges against the company. The company has denied wrongdoing.
Investors have pounded stocks for more than a month because of concerns that Europe's sovereign debt crisis would slow a rebound worldwide. Thursday's advance was the latest swing in a market that has been volatile for weeks, including three late-day slides in the past four days.
Some of the advance could be coming from what's known as "short-covering." That's when traders are forced to buy stock after having earlier sold borrowed shares in a bet that the market would fall. The moves can add to the market's climb.
Markets around the world rose after China said exports climbed 48.5 percent in May, while imports jumped 48.3 percent. The increase in trade provides some relief to fears that debt problems in Europe would halt a global economic recovery. The 27-nation European Union is China's largest trading partner. China has said it wanted to cool its economy to keep it from getting overheated. Traders had grown concerned that China would inadvertently slow growth too much and hurt a global rebound.
"China so far has been able to pull this off," said John Apruzzese, partner and equity portfolio manager at Evercore Wealth Management in New York. "There's more focus on Europe but I think it's more about China."
The Dow's rise concluded with its first close above 10,000 this week and its biggest gain since May 27 when it climbed nearly 285 points after China said it didn't plan to sell its European government bonds.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.33 percent from 3.18 percent late Wednesday.
While investors worry about Europe's debt problems, there are also concerns about the job market in the United States. An unemployment rate of 9.7 percent remains one of the biggest obstacles to a strong domestic rebound.
The Labor Department said new claims for unemployment fell by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 456,000. While that figure fell short of economists' forecast, traders were heartened by numbers showing total claims last week dropped by the largest amount in almost a year. Total unemployment benefit rolls fell by 255,000 to 4.5 million.
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