U.S. stocks started higher on Thursday after the latest evidence that the economic recovery is gaining traction, with jobless claims down for a second week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 66 points to 11,110. P&G is one of the few Dow components trading lower following earnings. The S&P 500 Index climbed 10 points to 1,201. The Nasdaq Composite gained 17 points to 2,489. Better than expected earnings keep pushing stocks higher. Baidu, Akamai, Office Max, Bristol Myers Squibb, Motorola, Burger King, Sprint, IP, Kellogg are all jumping over 3% thanks to earnings. Palm is jumping 24% after being acquired last night from HP. Most of the techs look good. LSI Logic and Xilinx are modestly lower following earnings. Baidu is jumping 13%. The financials are modestly higher once again. Visa, Allstate, and Lincoln Financial are modestly lower following earnings. In the commodity space Apache, Cliffs Natural, and Exxon Mobil are modestly lower following earnings. Potash and Conoco Philips are higher following earnings. After the first half an hour the averages remain strong. A couple of stocks are weak following earnings including Eastman Kodak and Imax. Through the morning and into the afternoon the averages improved. The Dow rose over 100 points thanks in part to the financials. Exxon, HP, and P&G are the only Dow components trading lower. Speaking of the oils, BP is down 8% on concerns their oil spill will shut down operations or stop expansion plans in the Gulf. In the last hour the averages remained strong. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 122 points, or 1.1%, at 11,167. The S&P 500 index rose 15 points, or 1.3%, to end at 1,206. It was the biggest one-day point gain for both the Dow industrials and the S&P since March 5. The Nasdaq Composite rose 40 points, or 1.6%, to 2,511.
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