Dow rallies nearly 500 points after hot start to the earnings season

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U.S. stocks rose Thursday after better-than-expected earnings reports from Bank of America and other major companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped about 475 points, or 1.4%. The S&P 500 gained 1.5% and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.7%.

Third-quarter earnings season continued Thursday with several big banks and Dow members reporting financial results before the bell.

Eight members of the S&P 500 reported earnings this morning and all eight beat earnings-per-share expectations from Wall Street.

"So far, the overwhelming majority of large US companies have been able to generate higher profitability despite rising labor costs because sales growth has been so robust. We expect the same to be true in 3Q," Mark Haefele, chief investment officer of UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a note Thursday.

Bank of America, Morgan Stanley saw their shares rise after beating earnings expectations. Wells Fargo shares declined and Citigroup traded near the flatline despite earnings beats.

Walgreens Boots Alliance shares gained after the drugstore chain beat earnings expectations and the stock was the top performer in the Dow. The company announced it would become majority owner of VillageMD with a $5.2 billion investment.

Dow constituent UnitedHealth also gained after the companies' quarterly results topped estimates.

Meanwhile, falling rates boosted technology stocks. The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield dipped, typically benefiting high-growth names as lower rates lift the value of companies' future earnings.

Big Tech stocks Microsoft, Apple and Facebook each rose at least 1%, while and Google-parent Alphabet gained more than 2%, providing the market with support.

Caterpillar was among the Dow's biggest gainers after Cowen initiated coverage of the equipment maker with an outperform rating. UPS rose as one of the S&P 500's top performers after an upgrade from Stifel, which cited upcoming holiday demand.

A lower-than-anticipated number of weekly jobless claims added to the positive market sentiment. Initial unemployment insurance claims last week totaled 293,000 – the first time the tally fell below the 300,000 level during the pandemic-era.

"We're seeing fresh and welcome signs of improvement in the job market," said Bankrate's Mark Hamrick.

September's producer price index was lighter than expected, also helping sentiment. Wholesale prices rose 0.5% from the month prior versus the 0.6% Dow Jones estimate.

—CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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