Stocks Soar as Growth Returns

News that the longest recession since the 1930s appears to be over sent stocks soaring on Thursday, and Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) and Motorola (NYSE: MOT) led the way higher.

After five quarters of negative growth in the last 18 months, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy grew 3.5 percent in the third quarter, the best performance for the economy in two years. Equipment and software sales were up 1.1 percent.

The biggest question facing the economy is how it will fare once the effects of massive government stimulus wear off. Stimulus efforts accounted for nearly half the growth in the quarter, according to some estimates.

Still, the news was good enough for the best one-day gain for stocks since mid-July, with the major indexes up about 2 percent each.

Motorola, Symantec and Akamai (NASDAQ: AKAM) led the tech sector’s gains, as all three gained 10 percent or more on their earnings reports, and LSI (NYSE: LSI) was up 6 percent on its report.

Palm (NASDAQ: PALM), Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) and Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) gained around 5 percent each.

Sprint (NYSE: S) fell 4.6 percent after posting another loss.

The Nasdaq surged 37 to 2097, the S&P 500 gained 23 to 1066, and the Dow soared 199 to 9962. Volume declined to 5.6 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.34 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 30-13 margin on the NYSE, and 18-8 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 89 percent on the NYSE, and 86 percent on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 55-36 on the NYSE, and 19-33 on the Nasdaq.

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