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Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Open Higher; Dollar General Profit Beats Expectations


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Following the market opening Thursday, the Dow traded up 0.33 percent to 17,056.90 while the NASDAQ surged 0.49 percent to 4,697.05. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.35 percent to 1,996.26.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

On Thursday, healthcare shares rose by 0.74 percent. Top gainers in the sector included Flamel Technologies S.A. (ADR) (NASDAQ: FLML ), Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPPI ), and Sarepta Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: SRPT ).

In trading on Thursday, energy shares dipped by 1.24 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Williams Companies Inc (NYSE: WMB ), down 8 percent, and Denbury Resources Inc. (NYSE: DNR ), down 12 percent.

Top Headline

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG ) reported upbeat earnings for its fourth quarter on Thursday.

Dollar General posted a quarterly profit of $376.2 million, or $1.30 per share, versus a year-ago profit of $355.4 million, or $1.17 per share.

Its sales rose 7.1 percent to $5.29 billion. However, analysts were expecting earnings of $1.26 per share on revenue of $5.3 billion. Its same-store sales climbed 2.2 percent for the quarter.

Equities Trading UP

Vericel Corp (NASDAQ: VCEL ) shares shot up 83 percent to $3.87 on positive Phase 2b ixCELL-DCM data.

Shares of Pacific Ethanol Inc (NASDAQ: PEIX ) got a boost, shooting up 18 percent to $4.95 after the company reported stronger-than-expected earnings for its fourth quarter.

Box Inc (NYSE: BOX ) shares were also up, gaining 10 percent to $13.81 after the company reported stronger-than-expected results for its fourth quarter and issued an upbeat forecast.

Equities Trading DOWN

InfoSonics Corporation (NASDAQ: IFON ) shares dropped 45 percent to $1.08. InfoSonics reported a Q4 loss of $0.07 per share on revenue of $10.2 million.

Shares of Energy Focus Inc (NASDAQ: EFOI ) were down 36 percent to $8.42 after the company reported weaker-than-expected Q4 results.

Omega Protein Corporation (NYSE: OME ) was down, falling around 31 percent to $15.17 after the company reported weaker-than-expected results for its fourth quarter.

Commodities

In commodity news, oil traded up 0.05 percent to $38.31, while gold traded down 0.46 percent to $1,251.60.

Silver traded down 0.01 percent Thursday to $15.37, while copper fell 0.52 percent to $2.22.

Eurozone

European shares were higher today. The eurozone's STOXX 600 rose 2.08 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index rose 2.99 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index jumped 3.26 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX climbed 2.30 percent, and the French CAC 40 gained 2.57 percent, while U.K. shares rose 0.57 percent.

Economics

US jobless claims declined 18,000 to 259,000 in the first week of March. However, economists were expecting initial jobless claims to reach 275,000 in the week.

© 2016 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: EFOI , PEIX , SPPI



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