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US stocks move sharply higher; Disney jumps

Posted: February 6, 2014 8:18 a.m.
Updated: February 6, 2014 8:18 a.m.

U.S. stocks rose sharply in morning trading Thursday as investors cheered new unemployment data and strong earnings from Disney. The market was rebounding a day after posting small losses.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average was up 146 points, or about 1 percent, to 15,587 at 11:06 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 16 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,767. The Nasdaq composite gained 45 points, or 1.2 percent, to 4,057.

MOUSE HOUSE: The Walt Disney reported better-than-anticipated fiscal first-quarter earnings late Wednesday. The media giant got a lift from its movie hit "Frozen" and sales of the "Disney Infinity" video game. Shares rose $3.76, or 5.3 percent, to $75.54.

SECTOR WATCH: The gains were broad. Nine of the S&P 500's 10 sectors rose. Only telecommunications stocks fell.

"The fear in the markets has subsided some," said Marc Doss, regional chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank.

FEWER UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS: The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits declined 20,000 last week to 331,000. That suggests Americans are facing fewer layoffs and better job prospects. The less volatile four-week average ticked up 250 to 334,000. That remains near pre-recession levels and suggests job losses have waned.

EYES ON JOBS: Investors were looking ahead to a key jobs report due out Friday. They are waiting to see if January's employment survey will show that hiring bounced back last month after December, when employers added just 74,000 jobs. That was the fewest in three years and far below the average of 214,000 added in the previous four months. Stock markets have sunk after signs of weaker growth in the United States, Europe and China. Turmoil in developing countries has further spooked investors. The upheaval has renewed doubts about the Federal Reserve's next steps.

TWEET THIS: Investors hammered Twitter's stock on worries that growth is slowing at the short online messaging service. The company reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and adjusted earnings late Wednesday, its first quarterly earnings report as a publicly traded company. But its user numbers signaled that growth is slowing. The stock lost $14.36, or 22 percent, to $51.59.

GM DISAPPOINTS: General Motors fell 26 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $34.98 after the automaker reported a fourth-quarter adjusted profit that fell short of Wall Street's expectations. GM said it spent heavily during the quarter to restructure outside the U.S.

BONDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note ticked up to 2.70 percent from 2.67 percent on Wednesday. The yield, which affects rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, has been creeping higher since Monday, when it fell to 2.58 percent, the lowest in more than two months. Investors moved money into bonds in recent weeks on concern that U.S. growth is slowing.


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