* McDonald’s up as China demand recovers
* Dow Chemicals rises, boosting materials sector
* Caterpillar falls after results
* Hospital operators tank
* Indexes up: Dow 1.25 pct, S&P 1.3 pct, Nasdaq 1.54 pct (Adds details, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Oct 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rallied after two days of losses, boosted by strong results from McDonald’s and Dow Chemicals and hints of the European Central Bank extending its stimulus program.
Shares of McDonald’s jumped 6 percent to $108.67 after its quarterly earnings and revenue beat estimates as demand recovered in China. The stock gave the biggest boost to the Dow.
The S&P materials sector’s 2.27 percent rise led the 9 advancers among the 10 major S&P sectors, boosted by Dow Chemicals’ 5.8 percent increase to $50.26 after its results.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the bank could extend its stimulus program beyond 2016 as part of its efforts to boost euro-zone growth and bring inflation closer to its target of close to 2 percent.
At 11:11 a.m. ET (1531 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 214.79 points, or 1.25 percent, at 17,383.4, the S&P 500 was up 26.16 points, or 1.3 percent, at 2,045.1 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 74.34 points, or 1.54 percent, at 4,914.46
“That’s all that central banks have to do anymore. Just hint that they’re going to throw easy money in there and it scares the shorts and enables the Bulls and bang! we’ve got these nice pops,” said Jeff Clark, trading analyst at Stansberry Research.
The dollar index rose 1.05 percent to 96.035 after the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged. The index has risen roughly 5 percent this year.
The U.S. Federal Reserve, which kept interest rates unchanged at near-zero levels at a September meeting, has said it will wait for signs of global economic resilience before pulling the trigger.
Data showed U.S. unemployment benefits claims rose by 3,000 to 259,000 last week, but below the 265,000 expected, while existing home sales increased more than expected to an annual rate of 5.55 million units in September.
Microsoft’s 2.8 percent rise ahead of its results later on Thursday provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. Alphabet, AT&T and Amazon also report after the close.
EBay rose 10.8 percent to $26.82 and Texas Instruments was up 10.1 percent at $7.13 after better-than-expected results late on Wednesday.
Caterpillar fell 1.6 percent to $69.99 and 3M fell 3 percent to $154.32 after third-quarter revenue missed estimates.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals continued its slide for the fourth day, falling 16.7 percent to $98.75.
Community Health Systems sank 31 percent to $27.99 after its forecast disappointed, dragging down hospital operators Lifepoint, HCA Holdings and Tenet Healthcare.
American Express fell 5.5 percent to $72.28 after its quarterly profit missed estimates.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,365 to 582. On the Nasdaq, 1,949 issues rose and 634 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 29 new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 53 new highs and 38 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)