The major market averages were higher on Thursday as upbeat Q1 earnings offset lingering pressure on oil futures. Better-than-expected earnings from EBay ( EBAY ), CSX ( CSX ) and Dow component stock American Express ( AXP ) kept the benchmark indices above water and the financial and industrial sectors on top among S&P 500 sectors.
Stocks were already trading higher before the open when the Labor Department reported that 244,000 individuals filed for unemployment claims in the week ended April 15, an increase of 10,000 from the week prior, while continuing claims touched a 17-year low of 1.98 million.
Also, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index declined to 22.0 in April from 32.8 the month prior, missing 25.5 estimates, but leading economic indicators jumped 0.4% last month, twice the increase Wall Street expected.
European indices were higher for a second straight day on gains in consumer and financial stocks, while the FTSE-100 ended a four-day losing streak thanks to gains in Unilever after the company reported strong Q1 results.
Crude oil was up $0.02 to $50.46 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.03 to $3.25 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $4.50 to $1,278.80 an ounce, while silver was down $0.15 to $18.01 an ounce. Copper was unchanged at $2.55 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.19% to $10.60 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 0.60% to $7.51. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 0.86% to 23.59 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.09% to $121.84. The iShares Silver Trust was down 1.16% to $16.95.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index was up 66.53 points (+0.57%) to 11,407.36
Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 133.18 points (+0.65%) to 20,537.67
S&P 500 was up 13.57 points (+0.58%) to 2,351.74
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 41.71 points (+0.71%) to 5,904.64
FTSE 100 was up 6.23 points (+0.09%) to 7,120.59
DAX was up 11.68 points (+0.10%) to 12,028.13
CAC 40 was up 74.18 points (+1.48%) to 5,077.91
Nikkei 225 was down 1.71 points (-0.01%) to 18,430.49
Hang Seng Index was up 231.10 points (+0.97%) to 24,056.98
Shanghai China Composite Index was up 1.41 points (+0.04%) to 3,172.10
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index was up 81.05 points (+0.77%) to 10,572.81
NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 60.98 points (+0.85%) to 7,148.32
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was up 63.06 points (+0.50%) to 12,658.47
(+) IMNP (+53.84%) Entered into letter of intent of Pint Pharma to license and commercialize Ceplene in Latin America
(+) SCSS (+24.70%) Reported better-than-expected Q1 results
(+) IDXG (+5.16%) Converting all long-term debt into common stock
(-) WSR (-8.35%) Reported 8.1 million stock offering, deal to buy two premier retail centers
(-) WR (-8.27%) Kansas Corporation Commission denies approval for Great Plains ( GXP ) merger
(-) PLXS (-7.37%) Beats Q2 EPS estimates, but misses on revenue and issued Q3 guidance below street expectations