After a month of lousy economic news, U.S. stocks are surging Thursday following the passage of Greece's cost-cutting austerity bill, which will pave the way for the country to receive $17 billion in rescue funds from international lenders to avoid default. "The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 145 points, or 1.2%, to 12406," reports The Wall Street Journal. "The Dow is still in negative territory for the month, but it turned positive for the quarter Thursday, led by Hewlett-Packard, which rose 3.6%, and Intel, which gained 3.5%. The Dow surged 327 points over the past three sessions, marking its strongest three-day performance since mid-March." Lawmakers in Greece are expected to vote in favor of implementing the cost-cutting bill later, following their vote to adopt the austerity bill yesterday. Gary Flam, a portfolio manager at Bel Air Investment Advisors tells the Journal "People are getting more confident that the economy isn't going to slide lower, and the Greek headlines are removing some near-term concerns." Meanwhile, USA Today notes that the economy is still more or less in the tank. "Slightly fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, but the level of claims is still high at 428,000. New unemployment claims have stayed above 400,000 for 12 straight weeks, a sign that companies aren't hiring at a rate that can sustain job growth.," reports the paper. "The slowdown in hiring has caused concerns that the U.S. economy will take longer than expected to return to health."
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