U.S. stocks opened higher Thursday after the government said jobless claims dipped last week, signaling companies could pick up the pace of hiring in May. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 64 points to 12,900. The S&P 500 added 9 points to 1,364. The Nasdaq Composite gained 9 points to 2,943. A real dichotomy is developing where the US economic data and companies continue to perform well while the European economic troubles are hurting a number of international companies. Case in point, Cisco Systems is down 8% following earnings and cautious comments indicating many corporations may pull back orders if Europe weakens further. Rival, Juniper is down 4% in sympathy as well. IBM and HP also opened lower, but Apple and Google are lifting the Nasdaq. AOL and Arm Holdings are also higher on upgrades. BMC Software is modestly higher on earnings. The financials are performing well this morning following a rebound in Europe overnight. Prudential is higher by 2% on a couple upgrades although the stock is down over 10% in the last month. The insurance stocks in general are performing well this morning. Stifel Financial is lower by 4% following earnings. In the retail space things are mixed. Monster Beverage, Tesla Motors, and Activision Blizzard are higher on earnings. Monster Beverage is jumping 11%. Kohls and Priceline are both lower by over 3% on earnings. Smith Wesson and Costco are higher on earnings. Macys was upgraded, but the stock is lower. Staples is lower on a downgrade. Through the first hour the Dow rose as much as 80 points before pulling back. The Nasdaq rose 16 points before pulling back. After the first hour the Nasdaq actually fell into the red as Cisco led the weakness. The Dow gave up more than half its gains. In the lunch hour it looked like the averages would give up all their gains only to rebound in the afternoon. The Dow jumped 70 points back towards the highs of the day while the Nasdaq begrudgingly moved into the green. But by the middle of the afternoon once again, the averages drifted back off once again. The market is acting heavy. The materials are the weakest sector followed by energy and industrials. In the last hour the averages limped into the close. The Dow Jones finished up 19 points closing at 12854, snapping a six day losing streak. The S&P closed up 3 points at 1357. The Nasdaq declined a point to 2933.
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