Stocks traded higher on Thursday as a comeback in regional bank shares on news of potential support calmed some fears over the sector's ongoing crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose over 370 points Thursday after falling more than 300 point earlier in the session. The S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq Composite also added 1.76% and 2.5%, respectively.
Here's how the market settled on Thursday:
S&P 500 Index
Dow Jones Industrial Average
Nasdaq Composite Index
Market participants continued on focus on the turmoil in the financial sector, with Credit Suisse
Elsewhere in the sector, the Wall Street Journal reported that JPMorgan Chase
In global economic news, the European Central Bank (ECB) delivered a surprise 0.50% interest rate hike, as central bankers said inflation remains "too high". Economists had expected a 0.25% hike due to ongoing uncertainties in the financial sector.
"Inflation is projected to remain too high for too long," the ECB said in a statement. "Therefore, the Governing Council today decided to increase the three key ECB interest rates by 50 basis points, in line with its determination to ensure the timely return of inflation to the 2% medium-term target."
"The euro area banking sector is resilient, with strong capital and liquidity positions," the central bank added.
The ECB's decision comes just a few days before the U.S. Federal Reserve will deliver its next policy decision, with the central bank expected to issue a second consecutive 0.25% hike at the conclusion of its meeting on Wednesday.
In U.S. economic news, initial jobless claims declined to 192,000 for the week ended March 11, according to the Labor Department, down from the previous week's print of 212,000. The decrease in unemployment filings demonstrates continued strength in the U.S. labor market in spite of the Fed's aggressive rate hiking campaign.
Meanwhile, housing starts and new building permits rose in February, according to the Commerce Department's report on Thursday. Total U.S. starts soared to 1.45 million last month, marking a 9.8% monthly increase and above estimates for 1.31 million. Permits jumped to 1.524 million in February, a 13.8% increase over January and above estimates for a 1.34 million total.
Looking ahead, market participants will continue to monitor news on the financial sector as they look for clues on the Fed's next policy decision.