U.S. stocks climbed on Thursday, extending gains into a fourth session, after the European Central Bank unfurled expanded stimulus and companies including Southwest Airlines posted upbeat quarterly earnings.
"We're pleased. There was always concern the ECB would disappoint, so we're pleased with size of the proposed actions, and the structure of it. There are moving parts, but overall it's good news," John De Clue, chief investment officer at the private client reserve at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
ECB President Mario Draghi said the central bank would make monthly bond purchases of as much as $70 billion starting in March, and running through September of next year.
Draghi's announcement came after the ECB held benchmark rates unchanged at record lows.
Southwest rose after the carrier posted quarterly earnings and revenue above estimates; Union Pacific advanced after the railway reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, and KeyCorp jumped after the regional bank tallied fourth-quarter results that surpassed expectations.
The CBOE Volatility Index, one gauge of investor uncertainty, fell 13 percent to 16.40.