From swoon to surge: US stocks reach record levels after Japan's surprise economic stimulus

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NEW YORK — The U.S. stock market is capping a seesaw month by jumping to all-time highs just two weeks after enduring its worst slump since 2012.

Global markets roared higher after Japan's central bank committed to a huge increase in its purchases of bonds and other assets, the country's latest effort to shake off two decades of stagnation. In the U.S., stocks extended a late-month rally that has been powered by strong corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 174 points, or 1 percent, to 17,369 as of 1:13 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 19 points, or 1 percent, to 2,014 and the Nasdaq composite rose 60 points, or 1.2 percent, to 4,626.

Both the Dow and the S&P 500 index are back at record highs and the Nasdaq composite is at its highest level in 14 years.

The Bank of Japan surprised investors by announcing it would increase its bond and asset purchases by 10 trillion yen to 20 trillion yen ($90.7 billion to $181.3 billion) to about 80 trillion yen ($725 billion) annually. The announcement came after economic data showed that Japan's economy remained in the doldrums.

The move comes only two days after the U.S. Federal Reserve brought an end to its own bond-buying program. Investors have been hopeful that the European Central Bank might also start buying bonds to stimulate that region's economy by keeping interest rates low and injecting cash into the financial system. That form of stimulus is called quantitative easing, also known among investors as "QE."

"The Japanese central bank has taken the QE baton from the Fed, and equity traders couldn't be happier," said David Madden, market analyst at IG.

Japan's stock market rose 4.8 percent to the highest level since 2007.

The yen weakened sharply following the Bank of Japan's announcement. The yen slumped 2.6 percent against the dollar to 112 yen. The Japanese currency is trading at the lowest level in more than five years. Japanese companies typically like a weak Japanese yen because it makes their exported goods cheaper abroad.

After a volatile month, U.S. stocks are on pace to end October broadly higher. The Dow and S&P 500 are up 2 percent for the month, while the Nasdaq is up nearly 3 percent. All three indexes had been down as much as 3 to 5 percent for October only two weeks ago.

European stock markets rose broadly following the Bank of Japan's announcement on hopes that the ECB could be tempted to follow Japan's lead in stepping up stimulus measures. However, few think anything will be announced at the ECB's next policy meeting next Thursday.

"The willingness of the Bank of Japan to ease further in the fight against deflation will encourage those who think the ECB should be doing the same," said Julian Jessop, chief global economist at Capital Economics.

Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.3 percent. France's CAC 40 jumped 2.2 percent and Germany's DAX climbed 2.3 percent.

In the U.S., GoPro jumped $10.61, or 16 percent, to $78.886. The maker of small, wearable video cameras posted profit and revenue that was well ahead of analysts' projections. The company also raised its profit forecast for the fourth quarter.

The price of U.S. benchmark crude oil fell $1.12to $80 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price oil in international markets, dipped 84 cents to $86.28 in London.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.34 percent from 2.31 percent Thursday.

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