U.S. stocks opened higher Thursday after the government reported jobless claims fell last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18 points to 10,986. The S&P 500 added 2 points to 1,162. The Nasdaq Composite gained 8 points to 2,388. The Labor Department's data showing applications for unemployment benefits last week declined to three-month lows come one day before the government's monthly jobs report. That's good. The monthly retail sales reported this morning was a modest positive as well. In the retail space Ross Stores, Target, Saks, and Nordstrom are trading higher. Crocs and Ann Taylor are both up 3% on upgrades. American Eagle is jumping 5% after the company lifted estimates for the quarter. Gap is lower on disappointing same store sales. The financials are modestly higher continuing their trend for the quarter. Fifth Third is higher on an upgrade. M&T Bank is down 3% even though the stock was upgraded. The tech space is succumbing to profit-taking. Research in Motion continues its' downward trend on rumors Apple will go with Verizon next year hurting Blackberry sales. The high-flying techs are under selling pressure once again. One software firm, BMC Software is jumping 7% on rumors they want to be bought out. After the first hour the Dow was unchanged while the Nasdaq was up 5 points. The commodities are trading lower for once. A quiet day so far. Through the morning the Dow moved lower with the Nasdaq unchanged. The commodities are weak. During the lunch hour the selling accelerated with the Dow dropping 60 points. The Nasdaq fell into the red. We're due for a down day. Ironically, a number of high-flying techs have turned around. BMC Software and Oracle made new highs today. In the middle of the afternoon the averages started to slowly improve with the Nasdaq moving into the green in the last hour. No one wants to be short going into the unemployment number tomorrow. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 19 points at 10,948. The S&P 500 index fell a point to 1,158, weighed down by telecoms and materials. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, however, finished slightly higher, gaining 3 points to 2,383.
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