U.S. stocks opened modestly higher Thursday after weekly jobless claims data and improving retail sales lifted sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 30 points to 10,427. The S&P 500 Index rose 2 points to 1,121. The Nasdaq Composite Index inched up a point to 2,282. The retail sector looks great this morning thanks to better than expected February same store sales numbers. Target, Aeropostale, and Dillards are up 2% or better following their monthly sales numbers. Abercrombie & Fitch is jumping 10% following February sales. Morton Restuarants, Coldwater Creek, Del Monte, Petsmart, Foot Locker, and Urban Outfitters are all up over 3% following earnings. Walmart is up a percent after lifting their dividend. Coke, Disney, and Boeing are up 2% on upgrades. Pier 1 and Family Dollar are higher after lifting sales numbers. Anheuser Busch is down 3% after confessing that 2010 has been a tough slog so far. The financials are modestly higher even though there are a number of cautious comments out from the analysts. Capital One, M&T Bank, and Suntrust had their numbers cut due to fears of higher capital requirements, however, the stock is higher. Goldman Sachs and the big banks are performing well. After the first half an hour the Dow rose 50 points while the Nasdaq inched up just 7 points. The techs are struggling so far this morning. Google is one of the best performing techs up 1.5%. Apple is also higher. As the morning progressed the averages gave up their gains similar to the last three days. The commodities are under pressure this morning. In the afternoon the averages recovered. The financials, in particular, Goldman are performing well. Metlife jumped 3% on news they may be able to buy an AIG division. In the tech sector Google and Apple look good. In the last hour the averages kept improving. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 47 points at 10,444, with the index now in the black for the year. Up for a fifth consecutive session, the S&P 500 Index rose 4 points to 1,122. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 11 points to 2,292.
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