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US Stocks in First Major Fourth Quarter Rally as S&P 500 Gains Most in 7 Months

© AP Photo / Mark LennihanFILE - In this May 13, 2019 file photo, the NYSE logo is displayed at the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks edged higher in early trading on Wall Street Monday, June 17, following two weeks of gains. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
FILE - In this May 13, 2019 file photo, the NYSE logo is displayed at the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks edged higher in early trading on Wall Street Monday, June 17, following two weeks of gains. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.10.2021
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NEW YORK (Sputnik) - US stocks had their biggest rally since the start of the fourth quarter, with the key S&P 500 index posting on Thursday its largest one-day gain in seven months as clarity over the Federal Reserve’s stimulus tapering plans emboldened investors to take the risk they had shunned for weeks.
The S&P 500, which groups the top 500 US stocks, and Wall Street’s other major indexes that include the broad-based Dow Jones Industrial Average and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, saw one of the weakest starts to a quarter as inflation worries from high oil prices weighed on markets in the first two weeks of October. 
Uncertainty on when the Federal Reserve would unwind its stimulus program and embark next on rate hikes had also unnerved market participants from taking positions.
On Wednesday, minutes from September's Federal Reserve policy meeting made clear that the stimulus taper would likely begin in November or December and conclude by the middle of 2022.
The central bank also suggested a monthly roll back of $15 billion that would terminate in eight months the $120 billion it spent each month to buy bonds and other assets to support the economy amid the COVID-19 crisis. More importantly, the Federal Reserve indicated it was not in a rush to increase interest rates.
The New York Stock Exchange is shown, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.09.2021
Wall Street Up Broadly as Fed Signals Caution With US Stimulus Taper, Rate Hike
While stocks posted some gains on Wednesday on the Federal Reserve notice, risk-taking reached a heightened level on Thursday as US jobless claims reached a pandemic-era low and US corporate earnings for the third quarter came in better than expected.
“Investors remain committed to stocks as the current inflationary environment won’t likely trigger a rapid interest rate hiking schedule from the Fed,” Ed Moya, analyst at online trading platform OANDA, said.
The S&P 500 settled up 74 points, or 1.7%, at 4,438. It was the index’s biggest one-day gain since a near 2% gain on March 5.
The Nasdaq Composite, comprising Big Tech names such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, closed up 252 points, or 1.7%, at 14,823.
The Dow, comprising mostly industrial-based value stocks,  finished Thursday’s session up 535 points, or 1.6%, at 34,913.
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