U.S. stocks advanced on Thursday as robust earnings from Apple, Morgan Stanley and General Electric lifted the market, but weaker-than- expected reports on jobless claims and Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index kept gains in check.
The S&P 500 Index advanced 5.08 points, or 0.38 percent, to trade at 1,335.41 at 1:53 p.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 22.18 points, or 0.18 percent, to trade at 12,475.72. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.46 percent.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares gained 2.61 percent to $351.35 as its second quarter earnings and revenue exceeded Street view. Profit was $6.0 billion or $6.40 a share, up from $3.1 billion or $3.33 a share last year. Sales rose to $24.7 billion from $13.5 billion. Analysts had expected profit of $5.36 a share on revenue of $23.34 billion.
Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) shares advanced 2.15 percent to $26.60 after reporting first quarter net income of $0.46 per share on an adjusted basis against analysts’ estimation of $0.40 per share.
Shares of General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE) declined 2.4 percent to $19.91 despite reporting an 80 percent rise in its first quarter profit. Profit was $3.36 billion or $0.31 a share, up from $1.87 billion or $0.17 a share last year. The company also raised its quarterly dividend by $0.01.
Economic data on Thursday was mixed. Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index, which determines the economic health of the manufacturing sector in Philadelphia district, fell to 18.50 in April from 43.40 in March, while economists expected a reading of 36.80.
The Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims declined by 13,000 to 403,000 for the week ended Apr.16 from the previous week's revised figure of 416,000, while economists expected 390,000. The 4-week moving average of initial claims increased 2,250 to 399,000 from the previous week's revised average of 396,750.
The euro advanced 0.29 percent to 1.4564 against the dollar and the yen declined 0.90 percent against the greenback.
Crude oil futures gained 0.40 percent to $111.90/barrel and gold futures advanced 0.39 percent.