Stocks, bucking a trend of late-day selloffs, ended higher on Thursday as economic bellwether FedEx offered a bullish profit outlook that augured well for broad growth.
Stocks that performed well in 2010 were among Thursday's biggest gainers as investors sought to boost returns by the year's end. Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners by more than two to one on both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.
Package shipper FedEx Corp
The fact that FedEx missed its earnings is overshadowed by its very strong outlook, which is a good indicator that we're looking for good economic times ahead, said Kimberly Foss, president at the Sacramento, California-based Empyrion Wealth Management, which has more than $200 million in assets under management.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 41.78 points, or 0.36 percent, at 11,499.25. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 7.64 points, or 0.62 percent, at 1,242.87. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 20.09 points, or 0.77 percent, at 2,637.31.
Stocks gained momentum after a slow start to the day, with big gainers for the year boosting the Nasdaq.
Some shares raised hopes consumers will be less frugal over the holiday shopping season. Amazon.com Inc
After the closing bell, Oracle Corp
Economic data added to the positive mood. Factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region unexpectedly rose in December, while jobless claims dipped for a second week. November housing starts rose, but permits for future home construction dropped to a 1-1/2 year low.
U.S.-listed shares of Research in Motion
While we expect the market to continue growing, the slower growth we expect is going to be good for those companies that execute well, but challenging for the ones that have been struggling, said Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist at RidgeWorth Investments in Richmond, Virginia.
About 7.54 billion shares were traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq, well below the year's daily average of 8.62 billion.
(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Kenneth Barry)