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U.S. stocks opened mildly lower on Thursday after data illustrated a first-quarter economic slowdown and another disappointing weekly report on the labor front. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 9 points to 12,681. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined a point to 1,354. The Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 4 points to 2,865. The earnings keep flooding in. The insurance stocks look good with Lincoln National, Aflac, and Allstate are all trading sharply higher. Metlife and Harford Financial are trading up in sympathy. Health insurance company, Aetna is trading up 5% after beating earnings estimates. The techs are mixed this morning. Akamai and Ebay are lower on earnings. LSI Logic is higher following earnings. Baidu.com and Xilinx are higher on upgrades. IBM is at another new high while Apple has struggled as of late. The financials are quiet this morning, not moving much other than the insurance stocks. The commodities opened lower this morning. Exxon Mobil, Noble Energy, Dow Chemical, and Potash are modestly lower following earnings. Transocean and Baker Hughes were upgraded, but both are modestly lower. Arch Coal raised their dividend, but the stock is lower. International Paper is up 3% following earnings. After the first half an hour the commodities and the averages turned around. The Dow rallied into the green led by Boeing and DuPont. The Nasdaq is inching closer to the unchanged level. The retail sector is mixed to lower this morning. Liz Claiborne, Cabela's, and Office Max are sharply lower following earnings. Starbucks, Colgate, and Bunge are lower on earnings. Briggs & Stratton is higher following better than expected earnings. Through the morning the Dow remained in the green at another new high for the year at 12700. The Nasdaq is stuck at the unchanged level. In the afternoon the Dow remained in the green while the Nasdaq pulled back into the red. Apple is particularly weak. The financials can't get going. Goldman Sachs is weak. The commodities have also pulled back. In the last hour the Dow accelerated rallying over 80 points before a small pullback into the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 72 points at 12,763, led by a 3.2% gain in Boeing. Today was the highest close for the Dow since May 2008. The S&P 500 gained 4 points to 1,360 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 2 points to 2,872.
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