Relief rippled throughout the financial markets.
One key proxy for investor fear, the CBOE's Volatility Index ( or the VIX, dropped 16%. It had spiked in recent days. CNNMoney's own )Fear and Greed Index, which tracks the VIX and six other gauges of sentiment, moved higher. The index still shows Fear, but it had been flashing signs of Extreme Fear for the past few days.
Rates on short-term Treasuries, known as T-bills, also dipped slightly Thursday, another indication that investors now believe a U.S. default is less likely.
Investors have been growing increasingly concerned as October 17th, a key deadline to increase the debt ceiling, comes closer. Should politicians fail to raise the debt ceiling, the U.S. is likely to default on some of its debt or could be forced to choose between interest payments on the debt and paying for key government services.
Unemployment edging up? Although the government has still not reported on the latest monthly employment figures due to the shutdown, there was another weekly report out Thursday that could have made investors uneasy about the jobs market. The Labor Department's report on initial jobless claims showed a sharp jump in claims over the previous week.
What's moving: Shares of the largest U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase (Fortune 500), , Bank of America (Fortune 500), , Citigroup (Fortune 500), and , Goldman Sachs (Fortune 500), rose between 2% and 3%. JPMorgan Chase and , Wells Fargo (Fortune 500) will report their latest quarterly earnings on Friday morning. One trader is expecting healthy results. ,
Several large technology stocks popped Thursday, including Netflix (, )eBay (Fortune 500), , Facebook (, )Priceline ( and )Tesla (. Many of these companies, which are among the hottest stocks of the year, had been hit hard in the past few days as the broader market sold off. )
Shares of Citrix Systems ( sank 12%, after the software company released its third-quarter results early, saying it expected earnings and revenue to come in lower than previously anticipated. )
IPO market stays hot: Four companies started trading Thursday. Biotech MacroGenics ( was the big standout, jumping more than 50%. Several companies have done extremely well in the market debuts lately, including sandwich chain )Potbelly (. And investors are eagerly awaiting the upcoming initial public offering of Twitter. )
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