NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks in the U.S. are rising Thursday and major indexes in Europe are surging as global markets continue a rally that began late the previous day. Wall Street is getting more optimistic that a trade dispute between the U.S. and China, the two largest economies in the world, will be resolved without too much pain. Some of the biggest gains are going to technology companies, retailers and banks.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index climbed 18 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,662 as of 12:45 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 237 points, or 1 percent, to 24,501. It was up 357 earlier. The Nasdaq composite added 35 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,077. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 9 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,541.
The Dow tumbled 501 points Wednesday morning after the U.S. and China each announced tariffs on about $50 billion in goods made by the other country. But stocks turned higher and the Dow finished with a gain of 230 points as officials in both countries reassured investors that they are willing to talk and aren't rushing into a trade war that could hurt global economic growth and company profits.
After a plunge Monday and a big bounce back Tuesday, followed by a steep loss that turned into a big gain Wednesday, the S&P 500 is now up 0.8 percent this week.
COMING BACK: Big technology companies climbed. Apple gained $1.78, or 1 percent, to $173.39. Companies like Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft have been some of the market's biggest winners over the last year but struggled during the recent round of turmoil because of trade worries and fears about increased government regulation.
Facebook rose after CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters that the ongoing privacy controversy has not caused a meaningful decrease in users. The company also plans to explain the data it gathers from users more clearly and restrict the user data outsiders can access. At the same time, Facebook revealed that as many as 87 million users may have had their data exposed in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, more than the 50 million disclosed in published reports.
The stock jumped $3.50, or 2.3 percent, to $158.60. The stock is down 14 percent since March 16.
Deere picked up $3.67, or 2.5 percent, to $152.24, which canceled out most of Wednesday's loss. Boeing rose $7.46, or 2.3 percent, to $334.90 after a 1-percent drop. Caterpillar, which made a small gain Wednesday, rose another $2.66, or 1.8 percent, to $147.84.
Retailers and consumer-focused companies built on their gains from the previous day. Amazon advanced $39.86, or 2.8 percent, to $1,450.43 and Netflix added $6.90, or 2.4 percent, to $295.84. Nike picked up 92 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $69.34.
OVERSEAS: The German DAX jumped 2.9 percent and the CAC 40 in France rose 2.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 surged 2.4 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 1.5 percent and South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.2 percent. Markets in Hong Kong were closed for holidays.
BONDS: Bond prices dipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.83 percent from 2.81 percent. The price of gold fell 0.8 percent to $1,329.10 an ounce.
Banks rose along with interest rates. JPMorgan Chase gained $1.79, or 1.6 percent, to $112.22 and Citigroup added $1.16, or 1.7 percent, to $70.47.
Companies that pay hefty dividends, such as utilities and real estate investment trusts, took small losses while phone companies lagged the rest of the market. Their large dividend payments make those stocks similar to bonds, and investors find the stocks more appealing in times of turmoil and falling bond yields.
DOGGIE DISH DEAL: J.M. Smucker is buying Ainsworth Pet Nutrition for $1.9 billion. Ainsworth's brands include Rachel Ray's pet food brand Nutrish as well as Better Than! and Dad's. Smucker already owns Kibbles 'n Bits and Meow Mix, and it's just the latest purchase of a pet food company by a packaged food maker as they try to cope with slower sales. In February, General Mills agreed to buy Blue Buffalo Pet Products for $8 billion.
Smucker rose 22 cents to $123.93.
CONN CRUSHED: Furniture retailer Conn's tumbled $4.35, or 12.1 percent, to $31.50 after it reported weaker-than-expected revenue and forecast a bigger decline in first quarter sales.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 25 cents to $63.62 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 30 cents to $68.32 per barrel in London. Oil prices dropped Wednesday in part because investors were nervous that a trade war would slow down growth in the global economy, which would reduce demand for oil.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 107.39 yen from 106.74 yen The euro fell to $1.2242 from $1.2280.