Stocks Close with Modest Advances on Better Jobless Numbers Ahead of New FOMC

Michael Teague |

Stocks Close with Modest Advances on Better Jobless Numbers Ahead of New FOMCWall Street closed Thursday on gains as the Labor Department released data indicating that jobless claims for the week fell by 16,000 to 339,000.

After last month’s Federal Open Market Committee showed unexpected opposition to open-ended stimulus and quantitative easing, it is beginning to appear as though the lack of improvement in the job market and consumer pricing is pushing the consensus back in the favor of unequivocal continuation of the Federal Reserve’s stimulus policy.

The S&P 500 closed on a gain of 0.40 percent to 1,585.16 points as Akami Technologies (AKAM) lead the way on an increase of 17.71 percent to $42.48, after releasing an earnings report that showed the company handily beating expectations on both earnings and revenue, with JPMorgan (JPM) upgrading the stock to “overweight”.

Meanwhile, the industrial metals and minerals company Cliff’s Natural Resources (CLF) was up nearly 15 percent to $20.95, after the company also released its first quarter data that had the company beating earnings expectations by almost 50 percent, coming in at $0.60 per share versus estimates of $0.32 per share.

Safeway (SWY) led the S&P on the downside, with a loss of nearly 14 percent to close at $24.32, after the supermarket chain reported earnings and revenue that missed expectations, the result of increased competition with the likes of Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT).

The Dow closed up 0.17 percent to 14,700.80, with tech stocks leading the way. Verizon (VZ) was the largest increase, up 2.76 percent to $53.23 after the company announced a bid for Vodafone's (VOD) stake of the wireless spectrum. International Business Machines (IBM) increased 1.10 percent to $193.81, while Cisco Systems gained 1.05 percent to $20.60

Shares for Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) were down 1.52 percent to $88.07 as the company’s earnings report indicated decreases in production, and the conglomerate 3M Co. (MMM) was down 2.77 percent to $104.88 on a slowdown in growth that lead to the company cutting its guidance for the current quarter.

The Nasdaq was up 0.62 percent to 3,289.99, with substantial gains for software company Cadence Design Systems (CDNS) up 7.86 percent to $13.72, and Staples (SPLS) up 2.71 percent to $12.88.

The online gaming company Zynga (ZNGA) dropped all the gains it made on Wednesday with a loss of 6.57 percent to $3.13, after the company’s decent Q1 earnings were not strong enough to counteract a reduction in guidance for the current quarter.

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Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
AKAM Akamai Technologies Inc. 57.44 0.71 1.25 772,122
CDNS Cadence Design Systems Inc. 25.77 -0.06 -0.21 701,289
CLF Cliffs Natural Resources Inc 6.09 -0.00 -0.05 4,409,743
IBM International Business Machines Corp 149.97 -1.55 -1.02 2,188,839
JPM JP Morgan Chase 68.39 0.13 0.19 7,058,973
MMM 3M Company 168.71 -1.15 -0.68 1,094,882
PCCC PC Connection Inc. n/a n/a n/a n/a
SPLS Staples Inc. 7.50 -0.06 -0.73 3,432,326
TGT Target Corporation 68.18 0.47 0.69 1,542,022
VOD Vodafone Group Plc 27.76 -0.06 -0.22 2,026,006
VZ Verizon Communications Inc. 48.37 -0.78 -1.58 13,122,634
WMT Wal-Mart Stores Inc. 68.43 -0.31 -0.44 4,142,607
XOM Exxon Mobil Corporation 86.22 -0.99 -1.14 6,087,813
ZNGA Zynga Inc. 2.90 -0.02 -0.52 1,224,799


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