Companies that make packaged foods and other consumer goods led a broad rise in U.S. stocks late Thursday afternoon, extending a rally into a third day. Investors also continued to drive U.S. bond prices higher, a sign that some traders remain cautious about the possible ramifications of Britain's vote to leave the European Union.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average gained 208 points, or 1.2 percent, to 17,903 at 3:31 p.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 24 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,095. The Nasdaq composite added 54 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,833.
THE QUOTE: A simultaneous rise in prices for stocks and U.S. bonds is unusual and suggests nervous investors overseas are seeking the relative safety of bonds even as other traders look to ride the U.S. stock market rally further, said David Schiegoleit, managing director of investments for the private client reserve at U.S. Bank.
"You have more capital chasing assets here in the U.S., which can lead to an increase in prices in both (stocks and bonds)," Schiegoleit said.
NETWORKING: Cable channel Starz climbed 6 percent after agreeing to be acquired by Lions Gate Entertainment, which owns the "Orange Is The New Black" Netflix series and the "Hunger Games" movies. Starz jumped $1.70 to $29.95. Lions Gate shed 77 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $20.16.
CHOCOLATE FIX: Hershey surged 18 percent following a published report that snack company Mondelez has made an overture to acquire the candy maker. Hershey added $17.59 to $114.77. Mondelez gained $2.56, or 6 percent, to $45.53.
FOOD MAKERS: Several packaged food and beverage companies moved higher. Hormel Foods led the gainers in the S&P 500 index, climbing $1.26, or 3.6 percent, to $36.58. PepsiCo rose $2.80, or 2.7 percent, to $105.93.
GOOGLE EFFECT: Care.com shares vaulted 38.1 percent after Google Capital invested $46 million in the online family care management service. Care.com added $3.23 to $11.70.
PASS THE PASTA: Darden Restaurants fell 3.9 percent after the parent company of Olive Garden forecast a profit for its fiscal 2017 that fell short of Wall Street expectations. The company also reported total sales for its fiscal fourth quarter that fell short of expectations. The stock shed $2.58 to $63.38.
STRESS OUT: Deutsche Bank slid 2.6 percent after the Federal Reserve rejected its plans to return capital to shareholders through dividend increases and share buybacks. The stock fell 34 cents to $12.33.
WICKERED OUT: Pier 1 Imports slumped 6.5 percent after the home decor retailer reported disappointing quarterly results. The stock lost 36 cents to $5.09.
JOB MARKET: The Labor Department said applications for unemployment benefits rose last week, but the level of claims remains low enough to suggest that most workers enjoy job security. Unemployment claims have remained below 300,000 for 69 straight weeks, the longest such streak since 1973.
BRITAIN: Worries over Britain's historic vote last week to leave the European Union have been easing. Stocks and the British pound plunged in the days after the vote last Thursday. Britain's stock market has recouped its losses, though that is largely thanks to the pound's drop, which helps the big companies' overseas earnings. Other indexes of companies more focused on the British economy are still down sharply.
EUROPEAN MARKETS: Britain's FTSE 100 rose 2.3 percent, while Germany's DAX added 0.7 percent. France's CAC 40 rose 1 percent.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.1 percent, while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.7 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 1.8 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 1.5.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.55, or 3.1 percent, to close at $48.33 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid 93 cents, or 1.8 percent, to close at $49.68 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.50 a gallon, while heating oil shed 5 cents to $1.48 a gallon. Natural gas rose 6 cents to $2.92 per 1,000 cubic feet.
METALS: In metals trading, gold lost $6.30 to $1,320.60 an ounce, silver gained 22 cents to $18.62 an ounce and copper added 1 cent to $2.20 a pound.
CURRENCIES: The yen, seen as a safe haven, strengthened sharply after the British referendum, but has become less volatile since then. The dollar was trading at 103.19 yen, up from 102.56 yen on Wednesday. The pound slipped to $1.3277 from $1.3431, still down sharply from the pre-vote level of $1.50. The euro fell to $1.1087 from $1.1106.
BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.48 percent from 1.52 late Wednesday.
AP Business Writer Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed to this report.