U.S. stocks opened modestly higher on Thursday as investors considered an unexpected rise in jobless claims last week. "This jobs number, combined with last Friday's disappointing employment report, may spark increasing concern regardling the pace of the ongoing U.S. economic expansion," said Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at Davidson Cos. The Dow industrials rose 34 points to 12,839. The S&P 500 rose 3 points to 1,372. The Nasdaq Composite added 11 points to 3,028. Mixed news this morning. In the tech space Nokia is lower again after lowering guidance the other day. Sony is modestly lower on job cuts. Dell is lower on a downgrade while Micron and Qualcomm are higher on upgrades. EMC is modestly higher on cautious analyst comments. Apple is struggling to rally while Google looks great ahead of earnings tonight. In the retail space Crocs and Movado are higher on upgrades. Tractor Supply is up 3% after raising guidance. Bed Bath Beyond is lower on a downgrade while Rite Aid is down 2% on in line earnings. The financials look good ahead of earnings tomorrow from JP Morgan and Bank of America. MBIA is higher by 5% on a settlement. In the first hour the averages surged with the Dow jumping 80 points and the Nasdaq rising 22 points. By the end of the first hour the Dow was up 100 points with the Nasdaq up 30 points. The weakest sectors are the defensive plays like utilities, consumer staples, and healthcare. It's a risk on day. Through the morning and into the afternoon the averages pushed higher. Prospects of better than expected growth out of China has pushed the material, industrial, and transport sectors higher. In the last hour the averages pushed back toward the highs of the day. Impressive rally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 181 points, or 1.4%, to 12,986. The S&P 500 climbed 18 points, or 1.4%, to 1,387. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 39 points, or 1.3%, to 3,055.
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