Better-than-expected initial claims numbers lifted the major
indices higher on Thursday. Benchmarks finished in the green for
the fourth consecutive day. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones
finished yesterday's trading session on a new high. Encouraging
initial claims numbers acted as a catalyst to investor sentiment
after receiving a jolt from dismal March payrolls numbers.
Investors will now closely watch the quarterly results of two major
banking giants. The technology sector had a bad run and was the
only loser among the S&P 500 industry groups. The health care
sector was the biggest
APPLE INC (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis ReportAPPLD MICRO CIR (AMCC): Free Stock Analysis
ReportBRISTOL-MYERS (BMY): Free Stock Analysis ReportCOSTCO WHOLE CP (COST): Free Stock Analysis
ReportGLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK): Free Stock Analysis
ReportHEWLETT PACKARD (HPQ): Free Stock Analysis
ReportINTEL CORP (INTC): Free Stock Analysis ReportJPMORGAN CHASE (JPM): Free Stock Analysis
ReportL BRANDS INC (LTD): Free Stock Analysis ReportMICROSOFT CORP (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis
ReportPFIZER INC (PFE): Free Stock Analysis ReportROSS STORES (ROST): Free Stock Analysis ReportTJX COS INC NEW (TJX): Free Stock Analysis
ReportWELLS FARGO-NEW (WFC): Free Stock Analysis
ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.4% to close the
day at 14,865.14. The S&P 500 added 0.4% to finish yesterday's
trading session at 1,593.37. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index
inched up 0.1% to end at 3,300.16. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility
Index (VIX) fell 1.0% to settle at 12.24. Consolidated volumes on
the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq
were roughly 6.17 billion shares, lower than 2012's daily average
of 6.45 billion shares. Advancing stocks outnumbered the decliners.
For the 60% that advanced, 37% declined.
The Street began yesterday's trading session on a positive note.
Though the S&P 500 and the blue-chip index had a good run
yesterday, the Nasdaq's gains were limited by weakness in major
technology companies. Technology shares declined after an industry
report revealed that shipments of personal computers had declined
considerably in the first quarter.
On the home front, the U.S. Department of Labor released initial
claims numbers. According to the report, the number of Americans
filing for unemployment benefits declined 42,000 from the previous
week's revised figure of 388,000 to 346,000. This was well below
the consensus estimate of 368,000. But the four week moving average
increased 3,000 to 358,000 from the previous week's revised figure
of 355,000. According to economists, a decline below 350,000
signifies a moderate improvement in the labor market.
On Friday, two major banking giants JPMorgan Chase & Co.
(NYSE: JPM ) and
Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC ) are scheduled to
declare their quarterly results. According to Thomson Reuters data,
profits of S&P 500 companies are expected to increase by 1.5%
from the same quarter a year ago.
The SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) gained 2.0%. L Brands Inc (NYSE: LTD ) and Ross Stores,
Inc. (NASDAQ: ROST
) surged 4.3% and 5.9%, respectively after both of the companies
posted better-than-expected same-store sales. But numbers from
retail giants The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TJX ) and Costco
Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST ) came in below
expectations. But both the companies managed to finish in the
green. The Street had mixed same store retail sales numbers in
March but analysts have projected that sales will increase in
The technology sector was the lone loser among the S&P 500
industry groups and the Technology SPDR (XLK) lost 0.3%. Stocks
such as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT ),
Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ ), Apple Inc.
(NASDAQ: AAPL ),
Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC ) and Applied
Micro Circuits Corporation (NASDAQ: AMCC ) declined 4.4%,
6.5%, 0.3%, 2.0% and 2.2%, respectively.
Heath care stocks were the biggest gainer among the S&P 500
industry groups and the Health Care SPDR (XLV) edged up 1.0%.
Stocks such as Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE ), GlaxoSmithKline
plc (NYSE: GSK ),
Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY ), Johnson &
Johnson and Merck & Co., Inc. added 2.4%, 1.6%, 0.3%, 0.4% and