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U.S. stocks started mildly up on Thursday after the government offered better-than-expected data on the labor market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18 points to 11,390. The S&P 500 added 4 points to 1,232. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 10 points to 2,619. The broad market is performing well this morning, but only a hand full of stocks are trading sharply higher. Retailer, Lululemon Athletica is jumping 16% following better than expected earnings and good guidance. Smithfield Foods is jumping 6% following earnings. Ford is modestly higher on an upgrade from Bank of America. Their price target is $24. Not bad. Home Depot is higher on an upgrade while rival Lowes is lower on a downgrade. The financials are performing well for a second straight day. Bank of America is jumping 3%. Regional bank, Huntington Bancshares is up 3.5%. Legg Mason and Northern Trust are higher on upgrades. State Street is one of the few financials lower after selling $11 billion asset backed securities for a loss. In the tech sector Apple, Corning, Seagate, and Qualcomm are higher on upgrades. Most of the commodities are trading higher this morning. Freeport McMoran is jumping 2% on news the company is splitting their stock 2 for 1 and announced a special $1 dividend for shareholders before the end of the year. A year ago the company provided no dividend, but thanks to a robust turnaround in copper prices the yearly dividend is up to 90 cents and now an added dollar on top of that. Plus the stock is up 25% for the year. Nice turnaround. After the first hour the Dow fell into the red, but the Nasdaq held on to gains. The financials remain one of the lone bright spots. Through the morning the averages drifted lower as the Democrats in Washington have temporarily blocked the tax bill. In the afternoon the averages remained led by the financials. In the last hour the averages fought to get back to the unchanged level thanks in part to the largest US bond fund company, Pimco raising US growth forecasts for 2011. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down just 2 points at 11,370. Bank of America was one of the biggest winners in the Dow for a second straight day. The S&P 500 index rose 4 points to 1,233, led by a 1.3% gain in the financial sector. The Nasdaq Composite rose 7 points to 2,616.
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