Stocks and US Markets contineud their gains Thursday as better than expected jobless claims were reported together with favorable earnings reports. Following sharp declines in the previous week’s trading sessions, markets seemed to rise back on its feet and approach new highs. Investors continue to remain bullish on the market and as long as they continue to do so, US indices will keep rising.
The U.S. government reported that initial jobless claims dropped to 339,000 in the latest week, significantly lower than the 351,000 claims that economists were predicting.
Trading has been choppy recently as investors take their cues from mixed economic data and company specific news. The year got off to a great start so some gyrating is to be expected, though most analysts still expect stocks to keep grinding higher.
In fact, all three indexes are still up between 9% to 13% so far this year as individual investors tentatively step back in. Investors poured $1.7 billion into U.S. stock mutual funds in the week ended April 17, according to the Investment Company Institute.
Earnings roll in: Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500) beat earnings forecasts but shares still fell in early trading. UPS (UPS, Fortune 500) also reported a jump in quarterly earnings.
Shares of Safeway (SWY, Fortune 500) tumbled nearly 17%, as investors focused on weaker-than-expected sales even though the grocer reported a higher quarterly profit.
Dow Chemical (DOW, Fortune 500) reported better-than-expected earnings, fueled by sales of agricultural products.
Shares of Zynga (ZNGA) fell nearly 7%, a day after the online gaming company issued a gloomy forecast.
3M (MMM, Fortune 500) was the biggest drag on the Dow, after the company missed profit and revenue expectations and lowered its 2013 earnings outlook.
Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) and Starbucks (SBUX, Fortune 500) report their results after the close.
In other corporate news, Verizon Communications (VZ, Fortune 500) drew attention after Reuters reported the company had hired advisers to look at a possible $100 billion bid to take full control of Verizon Wireless from Vodafone Group (VOD). Vodafone declined to comment.
General Electric (GE, Fortune 500) edged higher, a day after finance subsidiary GE Capital decided to nix lending programs for gun purchases in the wake of last year’s Newtown massacre.
Mixed action in overseas markets: European markets closed higher, following a report that the British economy dodged a triple-dip recession, according to preliminary estimates.
At the same time, Spanish unemployment rose a record to 27.2%, and European car sales sunk to their lowest level since the mid-1990s.
“With the eurozone recession deepening and global climate looking gloomy in general, I don’t think many people are expecting UK growth to kick on from here,” said Caxton FX analyst Richard Driver. “Major risks still hang over the UK economy but this certainly brightens the outlook for sterling a little.”
Asian markets also ended mixed, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gaining nearly 1% and Japan’s Nikkei up 0.6%. The Shanghai Composite finished 0.9% weaker.
The dollar rose against the euro, but fell against the British and the Japanese yen.
Oil and gold prices jumped.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.72%.