U.S. stocks opened higher thanks to an unexpected drop in initial jobless claims and better than anticipated earnings from J.P. Morgan Chase. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 36 points to 8,065. The S&P 500 Index gained 5 points to 857 while the Nasdaq Composite added 17 points to stand at 1,644. JP Morgan is trading up 3%, lifting most of the sector. Charles Schwab and American Express are lower even though both were upgraded. Capital One is down 5% on a downgrade. REIT, General Growth Properties is halted after filing for Chapter 11 this morning. The techs are performing well so far this morning. Google is higher ahead of earnings tonight. Nokia and Fairchild Semi are both up over 7% on earnings. HP and Microsoft are higher thanks to upgrades. Cypress Semi is lower after reporting a quarterly loss. SunMicro opened higher on rumors IBM is back in talks to buy the firm. Other earnings reports are coming in from Sonoco, Southwest, Parker Hannifin, Harley Davidson, Polaris, Sherwin Williams, Activision Blizzard, and Intuitive Surgical. Harley is jumping 11%, Sherwin Williams is up 9%, Polaris is up 8%, and Activision is up 4%. Southwest is down 10% and Sonoco is down 6%. After the first half an hour, the averages remain in the green, but not by much. Financials and techs still look good. After the first hour, and through the morning, the Dow dipped into the red following a little profit-taking. No major sell off. The Nasdaq is holding just above the unchanged level. In the afternoon, the averages perked up, all moving into the green. JP Morgan continues to lead the financials higher. Google is leading the techs highs. Entering the last hour, the Dow was up over 100 points. The Nasdaq rose 45 points. The averages ran up a little more in the last hour, then held on to most of the gains as some sellers stepped in. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 95 points, or 1.2%, at 8,125. The S&P 500 Index climbed 13 points, or 1.6%, to 865. The Nasdaq Composite added 43 points, or 2.7%, to 1,670.
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