U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday after the government said new jobless claims unexpectedly dropped last week, and after Bank of America said it would repay $45 billion in bailout funds. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 40 points to 10,493. The S&P 500 Index rose 5 points to 1,114. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 13 points to 2,198. Bank of America is leading the charge rallying 4% following two upgraded and a debt upgrade. Now analysts expect Wells Fargo and PNC Bank to repay their TARP funds. The government may also start selling some of their Citigroup position as well. CIBC is up 2% following better than expected earnings. Sallie Mae is higher on encouraging comments from Congress that conditions are improving for the student loan provider. Not all the financials are trading higher. TD Bank is lower following flat earnings. Suntrust is down 2% on a downgrade. The techs are performing well. Amazon is making new highs following positive comments from CNBC's Jim Cramer. Cisco and Microsoft are higher following upgrades. Apple is modestly higher following an upgrade. The retail sector is mixed following November same store sales. Del Monte is up 5% on better than expected earnings. Best Buy is higher thanks to positive comments from Cramer. The rest of the sector is weak. Family Dollar, TJX, Childrens' Place, Macys, Target, Saks, and JC Penney are all lower. Aeropostale is lower by 11% following earnings last night. At 10 o'clock weaker than expected manufactoring data sent the averages lower. Then comments from the White House warning of an uptick in unemployment sent the averages lower. The Dow fell into the red while the Nasdaq held on to modest gains. As the morning progressed, the White House denied claims of an uptick in unemployment which allowed the averages to rebound. In the afternoon the averages remained in the green until the last hour. In the last hour we saw a sharp sell off into the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 86 points at 10,366. The S&P 500 Index fell 9 points to 1,099 while the Nasdaq Composite declined 11 points to 2,173.
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