U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, led by the technology sector and strong results from International Business Machines. Investors are also awaiting several economic reports later in the morning. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 33 points, or 0.3%, to 12,943, with IBM shares up 3.5%. The S&P 500 index climbed 3 points to 1,376, with information technology gaining the most among its 10 industry groups. The Nasdaq Composite gained 20 points to 2,963. The tech sector looks great while the rest of the market is quiet. Besides IBM, we have Qualcomm, Ebay, and Nokia trading up sharply following earnings. Apple, Google, and Microsoft also look good. The weak sectors are getting a bounce today. In the energy space, Noble Corp, Pioneer Natural Resources, and Diamond Offshore are up over 2%. Steel company, Nucor is down 2% after earnings. In the materials space, Freeport McMoran is higher by 3% even though they misses estimates. Johnson Controls is down 7% after missing estimates and lowering guidance. The transports look good thanks to a 3% rally in Union Pacific. The financials are struggling for a second straight day. Morgan Stanley is down 4% on earnings. SLM is also lower by 4%. The big banks are lower to unchanged. BB&T, Keycorp, Huntington Bancorp, Fifth Third, and Blackstone are modestly higher. The defensive space is lower. The utilities and consumer staples are under pressure. Verizon is lower on earnings while PM is higher after beating estimates. This should be a risk on day, but every time the averages try to break out they lose their momentum, but we're still in the green. In the retail space, Sherwin Williams is lower on earnings while Travelzoo.com is jumping 6%. Through the morning the averages remained in the green with the Dow and Nasdaq up 20 points. Through the morning and into the afternoon the averages pushed to new highs only to pull back once again. Someone or something is holding back the major averages. In the drug space, Walgreen is surging 12% after the drug-store chain struck a new deal with prescription-drug provider Express Scripts. Through the afternoon the averages remained in the green led by the techs. The financials are under pressure along with the homebuilders and telecom. In the last hour the averages held on to modest gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 34 points at 12,943. The S&P 500 gained 3 points to 1,376. The Nasdaq Composite rose 23 points to 2,965.
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