RTTNews - After moving modestly lower in early trading, stocks have shown a notable rebound over the course of morning trading on Thursday. The major averages have all moved into positive territory after ending the previous session mixed.
Some of the early selling pressure was prompted by a report from the Labor Department showing that initial jobless claims for the week ended June 20th came in at 627,000, up from last week's revised figure of 612,000.
The increase in jobless claims surprised economists, who had expected the number to edge down to 600,000 from the 608,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Separately, the Commerce Department revealed its final revision to the first quarter gross domestic product. The report indicated that first quarter GDP contracted by a revised 5.5 percent compared to the 5.7 percent decrease that had been reported.
In other news, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is testifying before the House Oversight Committee in connection with the purchase of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America last year.
On the earnings front, Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) said its first-quarter net income rose to $0.34 per share from $0.30 per share in the same quarter last year, while analysts expected the firm to earn $0.25 per share for the quarter.
While Nike (NKE) reported adjusted fourth quarter net income of $0.99 per share, which beat Wall Street expectations of $0.96 per share, the firm said worldwide future orders scheduled for delivery from June 2009 through November 2009 are down 12 percent from a year ago.
Additionally, Lennar (LEN) reported a second-quarter net loss of $0.76 per share, unchanged from the same period last year. Wall Street analysts had expected the homebuilder to report a loss of $0.64 per share for the quarter.
In the past few minutes, the major averages have pulled back off their highs for the session, although they continue to post strong gains. The Dow is currently up 52.75 at 8,352.61, the Nasdaq is up 19.75 at 1,812.09 and the S&P 500 is up 7.51 at 908.45.
Early strength is visible in the retail sector, as reflected by the 2.8 percent gains being shown by the S&P Retail Index. The day's gain has helped the index moved further off of the two-month closing low set on Tuesday.
Bed Bath & Beyond is helping to lead the sector higher, with shares of the home furnishings retailer currently up 10 percent. With the gain, the stock has risen to its best intraday level in just over two months.
Healthcare-related stocks are also turning in strong performances, with the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index and the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Provider index rising by 3 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively. The day's move is helping the indices to offset recent losses.
Considerable strength is also visible among housing, airline and oil service stocks, reflecting the day's broad based gains.
Notably, the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index is up by 2.6 percent, extending its gains for a third straight session. The index is also continuing to move up from its lowest closing level in well over two months, set on Monday.
Stocks Driven By Analyst Comments
Genoptix (GXDX) is rising in mid-morning trading after being upgraded to Outperform from Perform by Oppenheimer, which cited the firm's price cut in its cancer tests. Shares of the specialized laboratory service provider are up by 4.1 percent, rising to their best intraday price in just over four months.
Shares of VCA Antech (WOOF) are also climbing following an upgrade by Sun Trust Robinson Humphrey to Buy from Neutral. The broker indicated an expected improvement in revenues through the end of the year as the reason for the ratings change. The animal healthcare firm is up by 5.8 percent, looking to take back losses posted in mid-June.
Meanwhile, American Reprographics Company (ARP) is sliding after being downgraded to Neutral from Outperform by Credit Suisse. The stock has dropped by 8.3 percent in mid-morning dealing, reaching its worst intraday level in just under seven weeks.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended Thursday's session showing strong gains. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed up 2.2 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 2.1 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets seeing considerable weakness, with the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both sliding by 1.4 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.8 percent.
In the bond markets, treasuries are showing a lack of direction. Subsequently, the benchmark ten-year note is trading at 3.677 percent, a drop of less than a basis point on the day.
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