U.S. stocks on Thursday opened with solid gains, with the S&P 500 bouncing back after two down days. The jobless claims were not great, the corporate earnings were not spectacular, but investors are feeling better about the markets. A big boost to the optimism may be due to improving economic fundamentals in Europe and Asia. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 80 points to 10,576. The S&P 500 Index climbed 7 points to 1,114. The Nasdaq Composite rose 16 points to 2,280. The averages are surprisingly strong given all the luke warm news. A number of stocks are trading lower following earnings including Symantec, Dr Pepper, Nvidia, Colgate, ADP, Raytheon, Akamai, Visa, and LSI. Kelloggs is down 4% after the company cut their outlook, yet the averages are higher. Visa is lower by 3% following earnings, yet the financials are higher. Franklin Resources is up 3% following earnings. Ameriprise is jumping 9% following earnings. The commodity stocks look good. Cliffs Natural Resources is up 4% even though they actually missed earnings estimates. Investors seem to be making a bet that the economy is about to rebound. The stocks trading higher following earnings include Goodyear, Exxon Mobil, Southwest Airlines, Motorola, Radio Shack, Potash, Sony, Imax, Lincoln Financial, and Moodys. After the first hour the Dow was only up 30 points. The Nasdaq gave up all its gains. Through the morning the averages moved lower. I guess those lackluster earnings are winning out. Colgate is trading down 8%. Only a few stocks remain in the green including Corning, Goldman Sachs, and a number of the commodities. In the afternoon the averages slowly improved. Surprisingly, the commodity stocks are performing well. Entering the last hour the averages were back to the unchanged level. Goldman Sachs is performing well up 3%. Research in Motion popped as well. In the last hour the averages rallied, then sold off. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 30 points at 10,467. The S&P 500 index dropped 4 points to 2,251. The utilities and consumer staples sectors weighed the most, losing 1.6% and 1.1% respectively, while financials rose the most. The Nasdaq Composite fell 12 points to 2,251.
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