U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday as robust earnings and an unexpected decline in first-time jobless claims bolstered investor sentiment. "This morning's 21,000 drop in weekly initial jobless claims to 434,000 is encouraging as it is the lowest level seen in several months. It provides another data point suggesting the economy is slowly moving ahead," said Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at Davidson Companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 44 points to 11,170. The S&P 500 Index rose 6 points to 1,189. The Nasdaq Composite added 10 points to 2,513. Plenty of earnings keep flooding in. Strong earnings coming in from the likes of Symantec, Akamai Tech, LSI Logic, Motorola, and Shutterfly. All are trading higher. Research in Motion is lower on a downgrade. Office Max, Kodak, and Las Vegas Sands are all up over 10% following earnings. To the downside we have Goodyear, Zimmer Holdings, 3M, Avon, Auto Nation, Franklin Resources, Norfolk Southern, Allstate, and Skechers all trading lower. Skechers is down 18%. After the first hour the averages had given up most of their gains. Potash, Visa, Allstate, and Research in Motion are all down over 3%. After the first hour the averages fell into the red. Very few stocks are in the green. Through the morning the averages remain in the red. In the afternoon the Dow recovered with the Nasdaq moving into the green. The Dow is being weighed down by a 6% drop in 3M. In the last hour, similar to yesterday, the averages clawed their way back to the unchanged level. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down12 points at 11,113, weighed down by a 5.9% drop in 3M. The Nasdaq Composite fell 4 points to 2,507. The broad S&P 500 index rose a point to 1,183.
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