U.S. stocks rose on Thursday as investors viewed earnings and favorable brokerage comments on companies and some economic data as signs that an economic rebound will continue.
But Wal-Mart put a lid on gains as its stock slid 1.5 percent to $53.27. The world's largest retailer forecast results for the current quarter that could miss Wall Street's estimates, hinting at weak consumer spending.
Government reports showing a surprise increase in weekly jobless claims and higher producer prices in January were more than offset by data showing gains in mid-Atlantic manufacturing activity and a 10th straight monthly rise in the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators.
News on the economy was mixed, said Jim Awad, managing director at Zephyr Management New York. There's a tug of war, with a slight upward bias based on a moderate cyclical recovery on the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> added 77.01 points, or 0.75 percent, to 10,386.25. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 6.85 points, or 0.62 percent, to 1,106.36. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 12.74 points, or 0.57 percent, to 2,239.03.
Shares of natural resources companies, including miners, were among the biggest gainers, followed by major manufacturers. The S&P materials index <.GSPM> jumped 1.2 percent. Aircraft maker Boeing Co
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc
On Nasdaq, shares of online travel agency Priceline.com Inc
But health insurers, as measured by the Morgan Stanley healthcare payor index <.HMO>, dropped 1.5 percent. The Obama administration ratcheted up pressure on health insurers in a fresh push for reform, saying some firms planned double-digit rate increases while earning billions in profits and paying their bosses multimillion-dollar salaries.
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)