Stocks have moved to the upside in early trading on Thursday, adding to the gains posted in the two previous sessions. The major averages have climbed into positive territory, moving back toward the highs seen earlier this month.
The major averages have pulled back off their highs for the young session in the past few minutes but remain positive. The Dow is up 31.90 points or 0.3 percent at 12,940.60, the Nasdaq is up 21.41 points or 0.7 percent at 2,964.01 and the S&P 500 is up 3.93 points or 0.3 percent at 1,376.71.
The markets are once again benefiting from strength among technology stocks, which posted substantial gains during trading on Wednesday.
Shares of IBM Corp. (IBM) are moving notably higher after the tech giant reported better than expected second quarter earnings growth. While the company's revenues fell short of estimates, IBM also raised its full-year earnings guidance.
Within the tech sector, electronic storage stocks are posting particularly strong gains in early trading. Reflecting the strength in the storage sector, the NYSE Arca Disk Drive Index has surged up by 2.8 percent, climbing further off Monday's nine-month closing low.
Semiconductor stocks are also seeing considerable strength, driving the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index up by 2.3 percent. The index is adding to the 3.6 percent gain it posted on Wednesday.
Outside of the tech sector, notable strength is visible among railroad, oil service and gold stocks. Union Pacific (UNP) is leading the railroad sector higher after reporting better than expected second quarter earnings.
Nonetheless, disappointing employment data may be limiting the upside for the markets, as the Labor Department released a report showing a bigger than expected rebound by jobless claims in the week ended July 14th.
The Labor Department said jobless claims jumped to 386,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 352,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to climb to 365,000 from the 350,000 originally reported for the previous week.
With the increase, jobless claims bounced off the four-year low set in the previous week, which was partly due to seasonal distortions.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved higher on Thursday, benefiting from the overnight strength on Wall Street. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged up by 1.7 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has edged up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are up by 0.9 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.
In the bond market, treasuries have moved moderately lower amid the continued strength among stocks. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 3.2 basis points at 1.511 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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