Investors finally got what they were looking for today and pushed markets definitively upward after the European Central Bank vowed to support the region’s weaker countries by buying their debt and U.S. private payrolls took a big step up.


The S&P Retail Index had increased 1.8 percent, or 11.56 points, to 655.36 at 1:15 in New York, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1.7 percent, or 223.59 points, to 13,271.07.


The relief was even more apparent in Europe, where markets posted across-the-board gains. Milan’s FTSE MIB soared 4.3 percent to 15,780.32, as Paris’ CAC 40 advanced 3.1 percent to 3,509.98, Frankfurt’s DAX in Frankfurt increased 2.9 percent to 7,167.33 and London’s FTSE 100 climbed 2.1 percent to 5,777.34.


Europe’s central bank chief Mario Draghi laid out the much-anticipated government bond-buying program, which will help lower the interest rates of countries such as Italy and Spain. Borrowing costs for the region’s weaker countries have been rising and pressuring the currency bloc.


Draghi said he had full confidence in the euro, calling it “irreversible.”


In the U.S., the ADP National Employment Report showed that August payrolls in the private sector expanded by 201,000 versus July. That’s 61,000 more jobs new jobs for the month than economists projected.


The U.S. Labor Department will weigh in with its more definitive take on employment Friday.


The weak employment market is seen as the major drag on the nation’s economic recovery.


Among those gaining ground on Wall Street were The Men’s Wearhouse Inc., which rose 14.5 percent to $36.44 after the company posted stronger second-quarter results; Tumi Holdings Inc., 7.5 percent to $23.28, and Sears Holdings Corp., 6.9 percent to $55.72. Sears stock was buoyed by regulatory filings late Wednesday showing chairman Edward S. Lampert and his ESL Partners had bought another $126.6 million worth of the company’s stock.


The biggest gainers in Europe were Inditex, up 5.4 percent to 95.57 euros; Mulberry Group, 4.2 percent to 13.04 pounds, and Carrefour, 4.3 percent to 16.98 euros. Among the few stocks that fell was Luxottica Group, which was down 4.8 percent to 28 euros. The firm denied that it is in talks to sell its U.S. retail unit Sears Optical.


The euro traded at $1.26 while the pound traded at $1.59.