U.S. stocks rose, after a three-day rally in the Standard & Poor™s 500 Index, as regional banks and transportation companies posted better-than-forecast earnings and the European Central Bank unveiled an expanded stimulus plan.

KeyCorp led gains among regional banks after fourth-quarter results topped analyst estimates. Southwest Airlines Co. jumped 6.2 percent as profit rose 71 percent on lower jet fuel prices. Union Pacific Corp. added 4.2 percent as a strengthening U.S. economy and growing construction market boosted traffic on the rails in the fourth quarter. EBay Inc. increased 4.9 percent after entering a standstill agreement with activist investor Carl Icahn.

The S&P 500 gained 0.7 percent to 2,046 at 12:21 p.m. in New York. The gauge climbed back to its average price for the past 50 days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 113.73 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,668.01. Trading in S&P 500 companies was 22 percent above the 30-day average for this time of the day.

Draghi announced an expanded asset-purchase program, including private and public securities, of up to 60 billion euros ($69 billion) a month. The buying will continue through September 2016. The announcement came after the ECB kept benchmark rates unchanged at record lows.

Source : Bloomberg