NEW YORK, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. stocks surged on Thursday with major indexes hitting new multi-year highs, as investors were encouraged by bullish economic data and the new bond-buying program of the European Central Bank (ECB).
When the market closed, the Dow Jones industrial average rallied 244.52 points, or 1.87 percent, to 13,292.00. The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 28.68 points, or 2.04 percent, to 1,432.12. The Nasdaq Composite Index surged 66.54 points, or 2.17 percent, to 3,135.81.
In a highly-anticipated speech after the ECB policy meeting on Thursday, ECB President Mario Draghi unveiled a new bond-buying program dubbed "Outright Monetary Transactions (OMTs)," which will make open-ended purchases of short-term government bonds to keep the borrowing costs down for struggling European countries.
Draghi said that economic growth in the euro area is expected to remain weak, citing ongoing tensions in the financial markets and heightened uncertainty that weighed on confidence and sentiment.
"OMTs will enable us to address severe distortions in government bond markets which originate from, in particular, unfounded fears on the part of investors of the reversibility of the euro," he added.
Stocks were also buoyed up by bullish economic data showing that the U.S. jobs market may be slowly turning around.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, the number of people applying for unemployment benefits dropped by 12,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 365,000, the lowest level in a month.
A separate report from the Automatic Data Processing Inc. showed that private businesses added 201,000 jobs in August, another sign of recovery in the jobs market.
Meanwhile, service industries in the United States expanded in August at a faster pace than previously forecast. The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index climbed to a three- month high of 53.7 from 52.6 in July, slightly higher than market anticipation.