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European Markets

European Futures called to open higher this morning.

US Markets

Stocks surged higher on Wednesday, with the Dow rising nearly 200 points and the Nasdaq rising 2%, as Wall Street rallied behind solid earnings results out of the technology sector. The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) added 187 points, or 1.5%, to close at 12,454. The blue-chip measure closed at its highest level since June 2008. The S&P 500 (SPX) added 18 points, or 1.4%, to 1,330; and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP) rose 58 points, or 2.1%, to 2,803. It was the best single-day performance for the Nasdaq this year. Wednesday’s rally was all about tech earnings, with Intel, Yahoo and IBM all reporting solid results after the close on Tuesday. Intel (INTC, Fortune 500) shares rose nearly 8%, making it among the best performers on the Nasdaq, S&P 500 and Dow. Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) shares rose 4.7%, while IBM (IBM, Fortune 500) shares edged down 0.4%. “I was pretty amazed by Intel’s results in particular,” said Daniel Morgan, portfolio manager with Synovus Trust Co., who follows technology closely. “Yes the economy continues to struggle, but tech is holding its own.”

 

Asian Markets

Asian stocks rose, pushing the regional index to its highest level in six weeks, after U.S. companies including Apple Inc. (AAPL) reported increased profits, signaling the global economic recovery is accelerating, and commodity shares gained.

Events this Week

Thursday — The biggest name to report will be industrial conglomerate General Electric (GE, Fortune 500), which has been under pressure this past quarter due to the Japanese earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster. Analysts expect GE to report earnings of 28 cents a share.

Investors will also get earnings from asset managerBlackRock (BLK, Fortune 500), fast food giant McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500), investment bank Morgan Stanley (MS, Fortune 500) and chemical company DuPont (DD, Fortune 500) among others.

For economic data, the Labor Department will release weekly jobless claims figures at 8:30 a.m. ET, with the Philadelphia Federal Reserve releasing its April activity index at 10 a.m. ET. Economists expect weekly claims to fall to 390,000 from last week’s 412,000 claims while the Philly Fed survey is expected to drop to 32.9 from last month’s 43.4.

Friday — U.S. markets are closed. No major companies will report earnings and no economic data will be released.