After five consecutive days of taking losses, stocks ended significantly higher at the conclusion of Thursday’s trading activity despite the approaching battle in Washington DC over the nation’s budget.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 added 0.35 percent to finish at a total of 1,698.67 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.36 higher at 15,328.30, and the NASDAQ posted an impressive 0.70 percent jump to 3,787.43 by the closing bell.
Investors took heart in the Department of Labor’s jobless claims figures that were released early in the day, indicating that the number of claims dropped to 305,000, against the economists’ expectations of an increase to 329,000. Claims also dropped more than had been expected during the previous week, however this was attributed to systems upgrades in California and Nevada that are widely thought to have artificially skewed the numbers downward.
On the S&P 500, JC Penney Company (JCP) pared back some of yesterday’s losses, advancing 3 percent on the heavy trading, while tech stocks provided the benchmark index with a great deal of momentum. Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) added 4.5 percent, with Micron Technology (MU) not far behind. Online auction company eBay Inc. (EBAY) was also 4.5 percent higher by the closing bell on news that the company had purchased the mobile payment processing outfit Braintree for $800 million.
The Dow saw most of its components in the black, with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) up slightly despite rumors that the bank’s many indiscretions will likely cost it some $12 billion. Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Intel (INTC) were the index’s worst performers, down 2.7 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.
The NASDAQ saw Facebook (FB) adding nearly 2 percent and finishing the day at over $50 per share for the first time since the company’s IPO last year. The stock is up nearly 90 percent on the year. Apple Inc. (AAPL) posted a 1 percent gain on heavy trading, and Groupon Inc. (GRPN) added 1.5 percent.
Online gaming company Zynga (ZNGA) was one of the worst performers, however, dropping 3.5 percent after it was announced that the company was withdrawing its bid to become a legal online casino. Zynga is also featured Equities.com’s brand new segment, the Turnaround Stock Portfolio.