Stocks rise after earnings continue to impressNEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose Thursday on stronger corporate earnings and hopes that the job market may be improving.
By: STAN CHOE,AP Business Writer, Worthington Daily Globe
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose Thursday on stronger corporate earnings and hopes that the job market may be improving.
Software company Red Hat Inc., chip maker Micron Technology Inc. and Chef Boyardee maker ConAgra Foods Inc. all reported results that beat expectations. Earnings growth has been strong across U.S. companies, which are benefiting from lower costs and stronger revenue overseas.
The government also said fewer people filed for unemployment benefits last week, evidence that layoffs are slowing. The average number of unemployment filings over the last four weeks has dropped to its lowest level since July 2008.
"Corporate earnings continue to be exceptionally strong," said Oliver Pursche, president of Gary Goldberg Financial Services. "I think the markets continue to focus on the underlying recovery of the U.S. economy."
Investors are turning their attention away from a long list of recent worries including high oil prices, violence in Libya and Japan's nuclear crisis. Portugal also headed closer to a bailout after its government resigned late Wednesday. European leaders are meeting to discuss the region's debt problems.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 73 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,159. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 9 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,307. The Nasdaq composite index rose 29 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,727.
Among active stocks, Red Hat jumped 16 percent to $46.54, and Micron rose 7.9 percent to $11.45 on their earnings results. Technology stocks had the biggest gains among the 10 industries in the S&P 500 index.
ConAgra rose 1.6 percent to $23.29.
Scholastic Corp., a publisher of children's books, fell 11.6 percent to $27.61. Weaker revenue pushed it to a wider loss last quarter. The company also cut its forecast for full-year earnings, citing tighter budgets for schools.
Commodity prices rose. Crude oil climbed above $106 per barrel to the highest level since 2008. Gold rose 0.6 percent to $1,446.40 per ounce, and silver gained 2.3 percent to $38.05 per ounce.