TODAY'S TOP STORIES

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gold01_05Apr12_17Apr14.jpg Gold futures ended at a two-week low on Thursday, with investors shifting focus away from the yellow metal following an uptick in global equities markets on the back of some encouraging economic reports from the U.S. and China recently. The safe haven appeal of the precious metal waned after investors...

Wallstreet3-111212_17Apr14.jpg Stocks continue to show a lack of direction in mid-day trading on Thursday, extending the lackluster performance seen earlier in the session. The major averages have spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Morgan-Stanley-MS-041714.jpg Investment bank Morgan Stanley and rival Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on Thursday reported results for the first quarter, that beat analysts' estimates. Morgan Stanley reported a 55 percent increase in profit from last year, reflecting higher revenues at all its three segments, particularly institutional securities segment. Goldman Sachs reported 11 percent decline in profit for the quarter.

EricCantor-041714.jpg After speaking with President Barack Obama by phone about stalled immigration reform legislation on Wednesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virg., claimed the president still does not understand how to work with the Republican-controlled House.

philadelphiaFed-041714.jpg Growth in Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity has accelerated by much more than anticipated in the month of April, according to the results of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's Business Outlook Survey released on Thursday. The Philly Fed said its diffusion index of current activity climbed to 16.6 in April from 9.0 in March, with a positive reading indicating growth.

wallstreet1-103112_17Apr14.jpg After moving notably higher over the past few sessions, stocks are turning in a lackluster performance in morning trading on Thursday. The major averages have been showing modest moves, holding close to the unchanged line.

Pepsico-PEP-041714.jpg Food and beverage giant PepsiCo, Inc. Thursday reported a higher first-quarter profit, amid flat revenues. Organic revenue grew 4 percent from last year. Earnings per share, as well as revenues beat analysts' estimates. The company also reaffirmed 7 percent core constant currency earnings per share growth target for full year 2014.

Post-Holdings-Acquire-Micheal-Foods-041714.jpg Post Holdings, Inc. (POST), a consumer packaged goods holding company, has agreed to acquire MFI Holding Corp. or Michael Foods from affiliates of GS Capital Partners, affiliates of Thomas H. Lee Partners and other owners for $2.45 billion.

Jobless-Claims-041714.jpg After reporting initial jobless claims at their lowest level in almost seven years in the previous week, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing that claims rebounded slightly in the week ended April 12th. The Labor Department said initial jobless claims inched up to 304,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's revised level of 302,000.

United-Health-Group-UNH-041714.jpg Health insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc. on Thursday reported an 8 percent decline in profit for the first quarter from last year, as higher revenues were more than offset by costs and taxes related to the Affordable Care Act as well as a reduction in government spending known as the sequestration. However, earnings per share beat analysts' expectations, while revenues missed their estimates.

Wallstreet2-111212_17Apr14.jpg While trading activity may be somewhat subdued ahead of the long weekend, stocks may attempt to extend their recent upward move in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 14 points.

Dupont-DD-041714.jpg Chemicals giant EI DuPont De Nemours & Co., commonly known as DuPont, Thursday reported a sharp decline in the first-quarter profit, reflecting lower sales and an income from discontinued operations in the prior year. Operating earnings met analysts' expectations, while revenues missed view. The company also reaffirmed its outlook for full-year 2014 operating earnings.

Honeywell-HON-041714.jpg Diversified technology and manufacturing company Honeywell International Inc. (HON) Thursday reported increased profit for the first quarter, supported by higher revenues. Citing the results and the overall favorable outlook for its markets, the company lifted the lower end of its full year outlook range for earnings.

General-Electric-GE-041714.jpg Diversified conglomerate General Electric Co. (GE) Thursday said its first-quarter profit declined from the prior year, but operating earnings came ahead of expectations. Further, the company's Industrial segment reported growth in earnings and revenues. GE said its 2014 framework remains unchanged.

Schlumberger-SLB-041714.jpg Oilfield services provider Schlumberger Limited Thursday reported a higher first-quarter profit, reflecting growth in revenues. The company said its solid year-on-year growth rates were led by the Middle East & Asia and North America areas.