Stocks are seeing some strength in mid-morning trading on Thursday, adding to the gains posted in the previous session, as investors react positively to some mixed economic and corporate news. Additionally, traders are mulling over Treasury Secretary Geithner's hopes for a more powerful regulatory authority.
Before the market open, the Labor Department released its jobless claims report for the week ended March 21st, showing that initial claims rose to 652,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 644,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 650,000 from the 646,000 originally reported for the previous week.
At the same time, the Commerce Department's final report on fourth quarter GDP showed that the economy contracted a little faster than previously estimated, although the revised drop in GDP was not quite as steep as economists had been expecting.
Traders are also keeping an eye on Capitol Hill, where Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is pushing for the establishment of a resolution authority that would give the Treasury sweeping powers to shut down or reorganize failing financial institutions that pose a threat to the country's financial system.
In recent trading, the major averages have moved well off their highs of the day, although they continue to hold above the unchanged line. The Dow is currently up 29.87 at 7,779.68, the Nasdaq is up 18.79 at 1,547.74 and the S&P 500 is up 2.23 at 816.11.
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