Mid-Day Market Update: US Stocks Gain; J.C. Penney Shares Gain After Q4 Results
Midway through trading Thursday, the Dow traded up 0.23 percent to 16,235.46 while the NASDAQ surged 0.36 percent to 4,307.65. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.23 percent to 1,849.36.
Leading and Lagging Sectors
Thursday morning, the basic materials sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Basic materials sector gained 0.81% in today's trading. Leading the sector was strength from Kraton Performance Polymers (NYSE: KRA) and Materion (NYSE: MTRN).
Utilities sector was the only decliner in the US market today, down on the day by 0.02 percent. Among the sector stocks, Exterran Partners LP (NASDAQ: EXLP) was down more than 3.2 percent, while AES (NYSE: AES) tumbled around 2.5 percent.
Best Buy Co (NYSE: BBY) posted a profit in the fourth quarter. Best Buy swung to a quarterly profit of $293 million, or $0.83 per share, versus a year-ago loss of $409 million, or $1.21 per share. Its adjusted operating income from continuing operations came in at $1.24 per share. Its revenue slipped to $14.47 billion versus $14.92 billion. However, analysts were projecting earnings of $1.01 per share on sales of $14.67 billion.
Shares of Amerisafe (NASDAQ: AMSF) got a boost, shooting up 12.76 percent to $44.44 after the company reported Q4 results and lifted its dividend.
Equities Trading DOWN
Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: INO) were down 8.31 percent to $3.42 as the company announced the pricing of public offering of common stock.
Chico's FAS (NYSE: CHS) was down, falling 7.56 percent to $16.64 after the company reported fourth-quarter results.
In commodity news, oil traded down 0.58 percent to $101.99, while gold traded up 0.40 percent to $1,333.30.
Silver traded up 0.36 percent Thursday to $21.37, while copper fell 0.50 percent to $3.20.
European shares were lower today.
The Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.59 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index fell 0.38 percent.
Meanwhile, the German DAX slipped 0.68 percent and the French CAC 40 dropped 0.01 percent while U.K. shares gained 0.16 percent.
US initial jobless claims rose 14,000 to 348,000 in the week ended February 22. However, economists were projecting claims to reach 335,000 in the week.
Orders for durable goods declined 1.0% in January, versus economists' expectations for a 1.7% drop.
US core durable-goods orders rose 1.10% in the month.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to -28.60 for the week ended February 23, versus a prior reading of -30.60.
The Kansas City Fed manufacturing index fell to 4.00 in February, versus a prior reading of 5.00. However, economists were expecting a reading of 2.00.
Supplies of natural gas declined 95 billion cubic feet for the week ended February 21, the Energy Information Administration reported. However, analysts were expecting a fall of 102 billion cubic feet to 106 billion cubic feet.
Data on money supply will be released at 4:30 p.m. ET.
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