Stocks were on the rise Thursday after the Labor Department said new claims for unemployment benefits rose to the highest level since October 1982 and the Census Bureau said orders for factory goods, now in a five month losing streak, decreased by a worse-than-expected 3.9% in December.
The market is in the middle of driving Bank of America's stock into oblivion on speculation the nation's largest bank will be taken over by federal regulators, effectively nationalizing it. Bank of America swung to a huge fourth quarter loss on CEO Ken Lewis' brilliantly-timed acquisition of failing invest bank Merrill Lynch. Despite this, traders started buying the financial sector around 10:00 EST, pushing it to a 3% gain on the day, and that's helped to drive the overall market up.
In recent trade, the DOW was moving higher by 1.03%. The broader S&P 500 was up 1.37% on the day and the NASADQ by 1.46%. The dollar was trading in pure risk-acceptance mode, falling against the higher-yielding (for now) euro, pound and Australian dollar as it was reaching its best level against the yen since Jan 08. Crude was recently trading higher by 14 cents and gold was up $14.60 off the bounce from $900.