Stocks gained across the board Thursday amid signs of progress on debt deals in Europe and U.S., in addition to an encouraging report on the Fed's mid-Atlantic manufacturing survey and some robust earnings reports.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced, led by Cisco and Disney , after ending lower in the previous session. The Dow is approximately 100 points away from the year's intraday high. Meanwhile, Intel was the only decliner on the blue-chip index.
The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq were also higher. All three major indices are now firmly in positive territory for the month.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, tumbled below 18.
All 10 key S&P sectors were higher, led by financials and energy.
Euro zone leaders met in Brussels after the ECB signaled in a policy reversal that it is willing to let Greece temporarily default under a crisis response that would involve a bond buyback, a debt swap but no new tax on banks.
The euro rose to a two-week high against the U.S. dollaras optimism surrounding a euro zone debt deal prompted short covering.
European banks including Barclays , Deutsche Bank and Banco Santander rallied sharply following the news.
However, some strategists remained skeptical that the bailout plan will put an end to the debt crisis.
“I'm negative on Europe—You have countries that have the biggest problems being subject to shrink monetary policy at a time they need more growth, so it’s a recipe for disaster,” according to Richard Campagna, managing director of 300 North Capital.
“What’s more likely is that you get another periodic blowups, or mini crises, every few months,” he added. “And this time, it’s going to center on Italy and Spain.”