NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks soared Thursday after applications for unemployment benefits fell to a five-month low and the government raised its estimate of how fast the U.S. economy grew this spring.

Germany also voted to expand the powers of Europe's bailout fund, reassuring investors that lawmakers were working to get that region's debt crisis under control. Bank, which would have the most to lose if Greece were to default, rose more than the rest of the market. JPMorgan Chase & Co. jumped 4.3 percent, the most of any stock in the Dow Jones industrial average.

The Dow shot up 215 points in early trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq were also sharply higher.

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