U.S. stocks started higher Thursday, rebounding from the prior session's decline and helped by better U.S. jobs data and some improvement in European bond markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 118 points, or 1%, to 11,941. The S&P 500 gained 12 points to 1,224. The Nasdaq Composite rose 22 points, to 2,561. Lifting sentiment ahead of the open, the Labor Department said first-time jobless claims fell 19,000 to 366,000, the lowest level since May 2008. A Philly Fed number also indicated better than expected manufacturing data so the US is on the mend, but the rest of the world is slowing down. For the second straight day the financials are outperforming the broader market. Morgan Stanley is higher after announcing job cuts. Discover is one of the few financials lower even though they beat estimates. MasterCard is higher on positive analyst comments. The techs are modestly higher this morning. Novellus is jumping 22% after agreeing to be bought by Lam Research. Lam is down 3%. Google, Marvell, Broadcom, Cisco, Apple, and Cree are higher on upgrades. Adobe is higher ahead of earnings tonight. Rite Aid and Scholastic are higher following earnings. Winnebago is lower after missing estimates. Deckers Outdoors is down 8% on a downgrade. Through the first hour the averages succumbed to profit-taking. The Dow, however, remains in the green. Transportation stock FedEx is higher by 5% on better than expected earnings. I wouldn't want to be a FedEx driver the next several weeks. Through the morning the Dow remained in the green. The defensive sectors like utilities, consumer staples, and healthcare remain the top performers. In the afternoon the Dow remained in the green even as the financials gave up most of their gains. The Nasdaq remained stuck at the unchanged level. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 45 points at 11,868, trimming its loss for the week so far to 2.6%. The S&P 500 rose 3 points to 1,215, leaving it down 3.1% from last Friday's close. The Nasdaq Composite gained nearly 2 points to 2,541, with the index off 4% for the not-yet-ended week.
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