Nasdaq Gains 1.8%; Spreadtrum Leaps After Hours

The major indexes achieved strong gains Thursday, boosted by an encouraging report on initial jobless claims and a decline in oil prices.

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The Nasdaq composite rose 1.8%, the S&P 500 1.7% and the NYSE composite 1.5%. Volume was up slightly from Wednesday’s level on the NYSE and about flat on the Nasdaq.

All eyes now turn to the February U.S. employment report that’s expected before the market’s open on Friday. Consensus estimates call for a gain of about 180,000 in nonfarm payrolls.

After the bell Thursday, Chinese chip designer Spreadtrum Communications (SPRD) rose as it reported Q4 EPS and revenue that beat expectations. The stock, which boasts an IBD Composite Rating of 95, has been bouncing off its 10-week moving average after a long advance.

Another highly rated stock, Silver Wheaton (SLW), also was slated to post its quarterly results after hours, but hadn’t done so shortly after the bell. The Vancouver-based company plans to host an earnings conference call at 11 a.m. EST on Friday. Silver Wheaton has been trading in a potential buy zone after clearing a 42.44 cup buy point. It has a Composite Rating of 97.

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