U.S. stocks opened modestly higher Thursday as investors embraced the first upbeat economic report in recent memory, with jobless claims dropping in the latest week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average 31 points to 10,091. The S&P 500 gained 4 points to 1,059. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 7 points to 2,149. The markets really are not up much, but its' nice to see some green on the screen. The bidding war for 3Par continues with Dell raising their bid for the firm. 3Par is actually lower as investors were anticipating a higher bid. Dell and HP are modestly higher. The techs in general look good. Cree is up 2% on an upgrade. Cisco Systems is modestly lower after announcing a small acquisition. The financials are modestly higher for once thanks to the better than expected economic data. Legg Mason is jumping 4% on takeover chatter. Ship Financial is up 4% on better than expected earnings. Paychex is modestly higher on an upgrade. At 10 o'clock better than expected housing numbers kept the averages and the financials in the green. Through the morning the averages remains in the green, but off the opening highs. Heading into the lunch hour the averages gave up their gains. The financials are about the only sector to remain in the green. In the middle of the afternoon the averages accelerated to the downside. The Dow dropped 60 points. The Nasdaq declined 15 points. Few stocks remain in the green. In the last hour the averages tried to rebound, but sold off once again. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 74 points to 9,985, with 28 of its 30 component stocks ending in the red. The S&P 500 index fell 8 points to 1,047, led lower by the energy sector, off 1%. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 22 points, or 1%, to end at 2,118..
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