U.S. stocks opened sharply higher Thursday after the European Central Bank cut interest rates in a surprise move and on data jobless claims fell back below the 400,000 level last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 137 points to 11,973, with 28 of its 30 constituents higher. The S&P 500 Index gained 13 points to 1,251 while the Nasdaq Composite rose 23 points to 2,663. The surprise rate cut in Europe is lending support to an already strong market. The earnings keep flooding in. The financials are higher although the insurance stocks are mixed on earnings. Lincoln Financial is jumping 6% on earnings while Hartford, Manulife, and Prudential are all lower. Plenty of earnings in the commodity space. Parker Drilling, AK Steel, Apache, Agrium, Duke Energy, and Suncor Energy are all higher following earnings. The retail sector is mixed this morning following earnings and sales store sales. American Eagle and Aeropostale are both jumping over 5% while Abercrombie & Fitch is down 17% on earnings. Don't they do all the same thing. Kellogg is down 7% after missing estimates. Whole Foods is down 3% even though they beat estimates. Estee Lauder is jumping 15% on earnings. Dillards is higher thanks to strong same store sales, but Macys is down 2.5% for the same reason. In the tech space Qualcomm is jumping 8% on strong earnings. The rest of the sector opened higher, but pared its' gains in the first hour. Intel and Apple are in the red. Research in Motion is making a new 52 week low. Within the first hour the averages gave up all their gains only to rebound. The financials had a severe reversal led by Jefferies which was halted following a 10% decline. The stock fell as much as 20% before reversing once again on rumors of a large exposure to European debt. Jefferies was also the lead Investment banker selling the last MF Global bond issue before they filed for bankruptcy. After the first hour the averages rebounded smartly with the Dow regaining an 80 point gain while the Nasdaq rose just 8 points. Through the morning into the lunch hour the averages remained strong drifting higher. The Dow rose 150 points with every Dow components moving into the green. The Nasdaq rebounded rising 37 points. Heading into the last hour the averages moved higher with the Dow jumping 200 points. The financials rebounded including Jefferies. All Jefferies has done today is go down 20% and then rebound into the green onto finish down 2%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day up 208 points, or 1.8%, at 12,044, with all 30 constituents in the green. The Nasdaq Composite rose 57 points, or 2.2%, to 2,697 while the S&P 500 Index advanced 23 points, or 1.9%, to 1,261.
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