U.S. stocks rallied on Thursday, with the Dow industrials climbing more than 400 points for the first time in three years, as investors applauded the Federal Reserve's pledge that it would be patient in increasing interest rates.
"You've got people that have underperformed that don't want to be left behind. I didn't understand why falling oil is bad for the stock market so I think part is the reversal of that," said James Paulson, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management.
"The reality is markets were hit with we're not sure what's happening and why, as oil has been acting as something akin to a global interest rate. The good news is the Fed is aware of what is going on, and they want to be friendly, so people are hopefully in better cheer," said Jack Caffrey, equity portfolio manager at J.P. Morgan.
"Seasonally it's a time of good flows into equities. If anything, seasonally the behavior over the last two weeks was an anomaly," said Caffrey of the market's recent slide.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of investor uncertainty, fell nearly 14 percent to 16.81.
Thursday data had jobless claims falling by 6,000 to 289,000 last week, the lowest since early November.
And, the Conference Board's index of leading indicators advanced in November for a third consecutive month, signalling the U.S. economy is picking up steam heading into the new year.
Oracle rallied after the software marker reported fiscal second-quarter profit and sales that exceeded estimates; Hertz Global Holdings jumped after investor Carl Icahn reported hiking his stake in the car-rental company.