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U.S. stocks offered a tepid rise at Thursday's start, with consumer discretionary shares fronting the gains, as investors digested another round of mostly disappointing economic data. "The economy appears to be in a bottoming process and we will most likely see several more months of spotty economic news before the data point to a sustainable recovery," said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist, Davidson Companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 53 points to 8,338. The S&P 500 Index rose 5 points to 889, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 16 points to 1,680. The financials are trying to stabilize themselves after three down days. The insurance stocks are performing well. The retailers are rebounding this morning. Kohls, Sony, Whole Foods, Jack in the Box, and Urban Outfitters are all up 3% or more following earnings reports. Home Depot, American Eagle, Best Buy, Ann Taylor, and Aeropostale are all higher thanks to upgrades. Walmart is lower following in line earnings. Most of the techs are performing well. Intel is higher on positive comments from Amtech. Computer Associates is higher by 5% after beating estimates. Among the big caps, only IBM and Google are lower. Within the first hour the averages pulled back only to rebound once again. Through the morning the averages remained in the green. In the afternoon, the averages remained in the green. Moodys upgraded some of their debt ratings on Wells Fargo helping lift that stock and the financial sector. In the last hour the averages held on to their gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 46 points at 8,331. The Nasdaq Composite rose 25 points, or 1.5%, to 1,689. The S&P 500 gained 9 points, or 1%, to close at 893.
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