U.S. stocks opened with modest gains Thursday after the government reported jobless claims fell last week to their lowest level since 2008. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 27 points to 12,134. The S&P 500 Index rose 4 points to 1,247. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 13 points to 2,591. No bad news out of Europe is lending support to the averages as well. No news is good news in regards to Europe. Every sector is performing well this morning except for healthcare and consumer staples. Pfizer is modestly lower on disappointing clinical trial results for one of their new drugs. The techs are bouncing back after Oracle's debacle yesterday. Micron is jumping 14% on earnings. Juniper Networks, Fusion-IO, EMC, and VMware are higher on upgrades. The other blue chips IBM, Intel, Apple, and Google are also trading higher. The commodity space is performing well this morning. Potash is higher on an upgrade. Agrium is higher even though it was downgraded. In the retail space Bed Bath & Beyond and Finish Line are lower by 6% following earnings. Fossil is lower on an upgrade. American Greetings is down a whopping 20% following earnings. Not a good day to be a retail stock. The financials are higher for a second straight day. Don't hold your breath. Through the morning and into the afternoon the averages remained in the green on light volume. It would be nice to close out the week on a plus note. The Dow industrials finished up 61 points at 12,169, leaving it up 5.1% for 2011, with five sessions remaining in the year. The S&P added 10 points to 1,254, off 0.3% from the end of 2010, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 21 points to 2,599, down 2% for the not-yet-ended year.
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