Stock market’s afternoon surge dented by new Ebola fears by Tom Huddleston, Jr. @FortuneMagazine October 23, 2014, 2:03 PM EST E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Stocks soared Thursday, buoyed by a handful of companies releasing strong earnings reports along with some positive economic reports in the U.S. and Europe. The Dow Jones industrial average closed the day up 217 points, or 1 percent. The index briefly topped 300 points earlier in the afternoon, but pared its gains in the final hour of trading following media reports that a doctor is being tested at a New York City hospital for a possible case of Ebola. The broader S&P 500 gained 24 points, or 1 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite added 70 points, or 2 percent. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 saw their third winning day of the week, despite small dips on Wednesday. The Dow rallied thanks to 3M MMM and Caterpillar CAT , which released strong quarterly financial reports on Thursday morning. Both companies’ shares were up more than 5% Thursday afternoon after 3M reported a sales bump and Caterpillar posted strong earnings thanks to effective cost-cutting. General Motors GM and apparel company Under Armour UA also posted strong earnings on Thursday. The market was also propped up today by news that jobless claims filed in the U.S. over the last month fell to their lowest average in more than 14 years. Another positive note came from the Conference Board’s index climbed 0.8%, suggesting continued economic growth in the U.S. carrying over into 2015. Meanwhile, investors were also encouraged by positive Eurozone economic reports, including a rebound in German manufacturing and a drop in unemployment in Spain. After slogging through several volatile weeks recently, the U.S. market has managed to recover some of its losses this week. The Dow also saw its third positive finish so far this week, including Tuesday’s 215-point jump, and has already grown by 2.3% this week. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 actually had a four-day winning streak broken on Wednesday, when the blue-chip index dipped 0.7%. The S&P 500 is now up 3.9% for the week, while the Nasdaq has improved by almost 5% so far this week. —Reuters contributed to this report.