Stocks shed losses from earlier this week to close broadly higher Thursday, lifted by the successful return of General Motors to the U.S. stock market and relief that Ireland was addressing its debt crisis.
TheDow Jones Industrial Average rose 173.35 points, or 1.6 percent, to close at 11,181.23.
General Motors priced its stock offering at $33 per share last night. Shares climbed 7 percent immediately after the launch, and ended about 3 percent higher recently. The listing could net GM $23 billion and will reduce the government's stake in the company to below 40 percent from 60 percent.
Most Dow components rose, led by Alcoa, Boeing and Caterpillar . Intel fell.
The S&P 500 rose 18.10 points, or 1.5 percent, to close at 1,196.69, after hitting 1,200 in intra-day trading. The Nasdaq rose 38.39 points, or 1.5 percent, to close at 2,514.40. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, plunged more than 13 percent to below 19.
The key S&P sectors all gained, led by energy, materials and technology.
The GM offering, which fueled a global stock rally, was boosted by demand from big North American mutual and pension fund investors, according to sources quoted by Reuters. Rival Ford fell more than 3 percent.
Just before the close, the stock was trading at about $34 a share, meaning traders who bought the shares at the open have lost $1 a share, or about 3 percent.
About 22 percent of volume on the NYSE floor Thursday was in GM stock.
The strong performance of the stock at launch, and the fact the once-bankrupt automaker, and symbol of American business, has overcome obstacles to return to the market will likely bring investors back to stocks, said Todd Schoenberger, managing director at LandColt Trading.
"It's a great story for the markets, the economy, and for investing," Schoenberger said. "I think retail investors will see the power in that."