U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday with sentiment lifted after the government reported applications for jobless benefits slid to a three-month low last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8 points to 12,500. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 2 points to 1,319. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 3 points to 2,800. Plenty of news this morning. Southern Union is up 4% after Williams raised their takeover price. Conoco Phillips is jumping 6% after announcing they will split the company into two divisions to help unlock shareholder value. On the earnings front, JP Morgan is up nearly 3% on solid earnings helping lift the financial sector. Hartford is modestly lower after disclosing their catastrophic losses for the quarter. Not a great quarter for the insurance stocks, but the good news is its' over. Capital One is modestly lower even though one analyst made positive comments. Yum Brands is up 2% after beating estimates. Marriott International is weak down 6% after lowering guidance following earnings last night. Through the first hour the US dollar slipped back causing the Dow to rally 80 points. The Nasdaq rose 17 points. In the tech space Fairchild Semi is up 6% following earnings. AMD is higher even though they had their numbers cut. EMC is higher on an upgrade. Apple looks good. So far so good. Through the morning the rally fizzled similar to yesterday with a rebound in the US dollar. By the lunch hour, the Dow remained up just 15 points while the Nasdaq was unchanged. In the afternoon the averages vacillated all over the place. The Dow fell as much as 70 points before rebounding. The Nasdaq is getting hit pretty good down 30 points. Google is trading down 10 points ahead of earnings tonight. In the last hour the averages did not improve. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 54 points, at 12,437. The S&P 500 lost 8 points to 1,308. The Nasdaq Composite fell 34 points, or 1.2%, to 2,762. After the close, Google jumped 58 points or 10% following blow out earnings.
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