U.S. equity indexes have caught a bid as jobless claims data
came in better than forecast, and corporate earnings continue to
show relative strength despite the strong global economic
crosswinds of the past quarter.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, jobless claims fell to
339,000 last week, compared to forecasts for a jobless claims
reading of 352,000. Last week's jobless claims were at the lowest
level in a month and a half, while the average of new claims over
the past month, dropped by 4,500 to 357,500. Continuing claims,
which reflect the number of people already receiving benefits,
decreased by 93,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.0 million in the
week ended April 13.
Prior to the release of the data stock futures were already
moving higher, boosted by another busy day of corporate earnings.
Exxon Mobil (XOM, $88.35, -1.2%, but above a day low $87.65)
announced that its first-quarter profit edged up 1%, Dow Chemical
(DOW, $33.80, +5%) reported better-than-expected earnings but lower
revenue while UPS' (UPS, near $85, +2%) earnings beat expectations,
while revenues were in line.
Overseas, European markets opened weak following preliminary
estimates that the UK's economy grew by 0.3%, Spanish unemployment
rose to a record 27.2%, while European car sales sank to their
lowest level since the mid-1990s. Despite all the negatives,
however, bourses across the pond have reversed course in recent
dealings to trade modestly higher. Asian markets, meanwhile ended
After hours, coffee store giant Starbucks (
) is set to report earnings. SBUX shares are closing in on a
five-year top of $62.00 per share, currently trading up 0.5% at
$60.10 having touched a day high $60.50. Shares have a 52-week high
Commodities were mostly surging at mid-day, with crude oil
continuing to recover from a 2-week beat down, rising $0.68 to
trade at $92.11 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.04 to $4.162
per million BTUs.
Gold futures were up $30.80 per ounce to $1,454.50, attempting
to recover from last week's yesterday's massive bloodbath in the
precious metals sector, while silver was up $1.117 to $23.995 per
ounce. Copper was down $0.0935 to $3.2585.
Here's where the markets stood at mid-day:
NYSE Composite up 61.73 (+0.68%) to 9,208.18
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 65.99 (+0.45%) to 14,742.99
S&P 500 up 9.32 (+0.59%) to 1,588.11
Nasdaq Composite Index up 24.83 (+0.76%) to 3,294.48
Nikkei 225 Index up 0.60%
Hang Seng Index up 0.98%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.87%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.27%
DAX up 0.90%
CAC 40 up O.01%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES:
NYSE Energy Sector Index (^NYE) up 92.35 (+0.71%) at
NYSE Financial Sector Index (^NYK) up 45.47 (+0.81%) to
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index (^NYP) down 5.10 (+0.06%) to
(+) AKAM (+20%, hit new 52 week high of $43.42) Shares jump
following the company's after hours Wednesday report that in Q1 its
revenue was $368 mln, vs. the analyst consensus of $357.7 mln on
Cap IQ. EPS was $0.51, vs. expectations of $0.47 per share.
(+) FFIV (+4.5%) Stock rises after being upgraded by analysts at
Nomura to a Buy rating from Neutral. The firm also raised its price
target on the stock to $88 from $85 a share.
(+) INFN (+54.5%, hits new 52-week high) Issue hits new 52-week
top of $8.55, responding enthusiastically after being upgraded to a
Buy rating from a Hold by analysts at Needham & Co. The firm
also set the price target on the stock at $12 a share.
(-) XIDE (-23.1%, hits new 52-week low) Shares slide to new
52-week bottom of $0.98 after the the company announced it was
suspending operations at its Vernon secondary lead recycling
facility. The shutdown is in compliance with an order dated April
24 from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.
(-) WHX (-23.4% at $7.30 but above a day low $6.51) Stock
tumbles in the absence of corporate news, possibly related to a
blog post on Seeking Alpha saying that shareholders are going to
lose half of their value in the company.
(-) SUPN (-10%, nearer year lows) Issue falls after the company
said it intends to offer, subject to market and other
considerations, $75.0 million aggregate principal amount of
Convertible Senior Notes due 2019 in a private offering.
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