U.S. stocks opened mildly higher on Thursday as better-than-expected economic data on the labor front countered disappointing results from economic bellwether FedEx. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 15 points to 11,472. The S&P 500 Index climbed 2 points to 1,238. The Nasdaq Composite rose 7 points to 2,624. The financials are in the lead this morning. Bank of America is up 2% on news they are extending talks regarding their mortgage backed securities. GE is higher by a percent. Prudential and Annaly Mortgage are higher on upgrades. Discover is down 5% following earnings this morning. In the retail space Aeropostale is jumping 6% on news the company is willing to listen to takeover bids. Christopher and Bank is up 5% on similar rumors of a takeover. Tyson Foods, Starbucks, and AnnTaylor are higher on upgrades. AutoNation made a new 52 week high this morning. The auto industry is on fire. General Mills and Pier One are lower following earnings. In the tech space Oracle is higher on an upgrade and ahead of earnings tonight. Apple is higher on an upgrade. Shocker. Within the first half an hour the averages improved. FedEx opened lower, but demonstrated a nice turnaround jumping 2%. Following the first hour the rally fizzled, a common theme this week. Through the morning the Dow fell into the red while the Nasdaq fought to hold on to gains. The commodity stocks are in the red as commodity prices get hit. A lot of this has to be profit-taking into year end. Nucor is one of the few commodities higher following an earnings loss. Entering the lunch hour the averages improved. The financials moved back into the green. A number of techs moved into the green and even the commodity stocks rallied. The theme for the week is the market doesn't want to go higher, but yet it doesn't want to sell off either. Not a bad position to be in heading toward the year end. In the afternoon the averages perked up with the Dow rising 50 points coming within 10 points of the yearly high. The Nasdaq rose 19 points coming within 6 points of the yearly high. The financials still look good except for Goldman which lost one of their best traders today. In the middle of the afternoon Visa and Mastercard got slammed when news broke that the Fed would step in to limit debit card fees. Both card companies dropped over 8%. JP Morgan fell modestly in the red, but the other big banks are holding up with the major averages. The market doesn't go up much, but then it doesn't want to sell off either. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 41 points at 11,499, led by a 3.6% gain in Alcoa. The S&P 500 closed up 7 points at 1,242, led by industrial stocks. The Nasdaq Composite gained 20 points to 2,637.
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