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US stocks surge, dismissing Japan's plunge

A man walks past an electronic quotation board outside a securities company in Tokyo on June 13, 2013
A man walks past an electronic quotation board in Tokyo on June 13, 2013. US stocks gained their footing after a rocky start Thursday to put on strong gains in their first positive day this week, shrugging off the 6.4 percent plunge in Japanese markets.

US stocks gained their footing after a rocky start Thursday to put on strong gains in their first positive day this week, shrugging off the 6.4 percent plunge in Japanese markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 180.85 points (1.21 percent) at 15,176.08.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 23.84 (1.48 percent) at 1,636.36, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite added 44.94 (1.32 percent) at 3,445.37.

US retail sales were up 0.6 percent in May over April, beating expectations, and were a positive for the economy, driven by a surge in auto sales.

"Car sales and retail sales in general are decent, suggesting consumers are recovering from the pain of higher taxes," said Chris Low of FTN Financial.

Graphic charting the performance of Nikkei-225 on Thursday
Graphic charting the performance of Nikkei-225 on Thursday

Still, questions remained over whether that pace can be sustained and what it means for the Federal Reserve's stimulus program, analysts said.

Grocery chain Safeway jumped 7.4 percent after saying it would sell its Canadian stores to retailer Sobeys for $5.7 billion in cash and use the funds to pay down debt and buy back stock.

Shares in cosmetics company Coty finished their first day of trade down 0.8 percent at $17.36 after raising around $1 billion in an IPO priced at $17.50.

Myriad Genetics jumped 10 percent immediately after a US Supreme Court decision that rejected its patent claims on natural DNA but allowed protection for its synthesized DNA -- cDNA -- and left in place its lucrative diagnostic business for the potential cancer marker BRCA1.

But the shares tumbled in the final hour and ended 5.5 percent lower.

Clearwire shares rose 2.3 percent following the board's recommendation that shareholders accept Dish Networks's newest bid for the company instead of Sprint's. Dish shares gained 2.0 percent and Sprint fell 0.4 percent.

Fed chief, Ben Bernanke, pictured during a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, on May 22, 2013
Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, pictured during a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, on May 22, 2013.

Gannett shares soared 34.0 percent after the newspaper group boosted its effort to diversify by buying Belo Corp., a Dallas-based chain of 20 television stations, for $1.5 billion.

Belo shares jumped 28.3 percent.

Investment guru Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway B shares rose 1.9 percent.

Bond prices rebounded from Wednesday's losses. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 2.17 percent from 2.23 percent, while the 30-year dropped to 3.33 percent from 3.38 percent. Bond prices move inversely to yields.

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