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Wal-Mart's Earnings Help Boost Dow To New Highs

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Wal-Mart's Earnings Help Boost Dow To New Highs
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U.S. stocks were mildly higher on Thursday as major indices were little changed at the closing bell.

The S&P 500 and Dow both traded at new highs following Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.'s (NYSE: WMT) premarket earnings.

Data from the Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose more than expected at 290,000. However, Thursday's data marks the ninth consecutive week of a reading less than 300,000.

Crude-oil futures traded below the $75 per barrel mark, its lowest since September 2010.

  • The Dow gained 0.23 percent, closing at 17,652.79.
  • The S&P 500 gained 0.05 percent, closing at 2,039.33.
  • The Nasdaq gained 0.11 percent, closing at 4,680.14.
  • Gold gained 0.17 percent, trading at $1,161.10 an ounce.
  • Oil lost 3.72 percent, trading at $74.31 a barrel.

News Of Note

Initial Jobless Claims rose 12,000 to 290,000 (versus consensus of 280,000). Continuing claims rose 36,000 to 2.39 million.

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September Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary fell to 4.735 million job openings (versus consensus of 4.8 million) from 4.835 million in August.

EIA Crude Inventories fell 1.7 million barrels after rising 0.5 million barrels last week.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to call an early election. The Prime Minister could call for a snap election as soon as next week with voting to be held as early as next month.

The European Union lowered its inflation forecast to 1.0 percent next year and 1.4 percent in 2016, from earlier forecasts of 1.2 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Economic growth is now projected to be 1.2 percent in 2015, down from previous forecasts of 1.5 percent growth.

Equities News Of Note

Analysts at Deutsche Bank initiated coverage of American Express Company (NYSE: AXP) with a Hold rating and $99 price target. Shares lost 0.52 percent, closing at $91.07.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley reiterated an Underweight rating on J.C. Penney Company Inc (NYSE: JCP) with a price target lowered to $5.50 from a previous $7.50. Analysts at JPMorgan maintained a Neutral rating with a price target lowered to $7 from a previous $9. Shares lost 8.51 percent, closing at $7.10.

Tyco International ltd. (NYSE: TYC) reported its fourth quarter results Thursday morning. The company earned $0.56 per share, in line with the consensus estimate. Revenue of $2.70 billion missed the consensus estimate of $2.72 billion. Shares lost 2.1 percent, closing at $42.44.

The rating agency Standard & Poor's assigned Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) with a BB-rating with a stable outlook. Shares lost 5.88 percent, closing at $40.04.

Wal-Mart reported its third quarter results Thursday morning. The company earned $1.15 per share, beating the consensus estimate of $1.12. Revenue of $118.10 billion missed the consensus estimate of $118.40 billion. Shares hit new 52-week highs of $83.06 before closing the day at $82.94, up 4.72 percent.

Related Link: Morgan Stanley Analysts Unexpectedly Impressed By Uber

Kohl's Corporation (NYSE: KSS) reported its third quarter results Thursday morning. The company earned $0.70 per share, missing the consensus estimate of $0.75. Revenue of $4.37 billion missed the consensus estimate of $4.41 billion. Shares lost 3.18 percent, closing at $56.07.

According to WSJ Markets (Twitter account) Halliburton Company (NYSE: HAL) is in talk to acquire Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE: BHI). Shares of Halliburton gained 1.05 percent, closing at $53.79 while shares of Baker Hughes surged 15.24 percent, closing at $58.75.

According to the New York Times, Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) in in advanced talks to acquire DreamWorks Animation Skg Inc (NASDAQ: DWA). Shares of Hasbro lost 4.33 percent, closing at $54.98, while shares of DreamWorks Animation surged 14.08 percent, closing at $25.52.

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ: BBRY) launched BES12 at an event in San Francisco. The company is selling BES12 through a subscription pricing structure ranging from $23 to $90 per year per device. Shares hit new 52-week highs of $12.54 before closing the day at $12.06, up 7.0 percent.

According to Bloomberg, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA) is looking to raise as much as $8 billion in a U.S. bond offering. Shares hit new 52-week highs of $120.00 before turning negative and closing the day at $114.84, down 2.84 percent.

United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE: UPS) guided its 2015 earnings per share to be $5.45 to $5.70 versus a consensus estimate of $5.70 per share. Shares lost 0.15 percent, closing at $107.79.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) announced it acquired Duracell from Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE: PG) for $4.7 billion. Shares of Berkshire hit new 52-week highs of $219,366.00 before closing the day at $219,300.00, up 0.55 percent. Shares of Procter & Gamble lost 0.98 percent, closing at $88.60.

Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN) reported its third quarter results after market close. The company earned $0.73 per share, beating the consensus estimate of $0.71. Revenue of $31.14 billion beating the consensus estimate of $3.10 billion. Shares were trading higher by 2.76 percent at $75.27 following the earnings release.

Quote Of The Day

"I have always been impressed by Duracell, as a consumer and as a long-term investor in P&G and Gillette. Duracell is a leading global brand with top quality products, and it will fit well within Berkshire Hathaway." – Warren Buffett commenting on Berkshire Hathaway's acquisition of Duracell.

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