FOX Business: The Power to Prosper
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Excitement over LinkedIn's dazzling Wall Street debut helped traders overcome lackluster economic reports.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 45.1 points, or 0.36%, to 12,605, the S&P 500 gained 2.9 points, or 0.22%, to 1,344 and the Nasdaq Composite traded higher by 8.3 points, or 0.3%, to 2,823. The FOX 50 edged higher by 2.1 points to 941.
LinkedIn (LNKD) more than doubled on its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, soaring $49.25, or 109%, to $94.25 a share. The professional networking site's market capitalization is roughly $8.8 billion valuing it within a billion dollars of Mattel (MAT), NYSE Euronext (NYX) and Southwest Airlines (LUV).
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Sales of existing single family homes fell 0.8% in April, according to the National Association of Realtors. Analysts had predicted a gain of 2%. Home prices also fell 5% on a year-over-year basis to $163,700 on average.
The housing market has been struggling as a glut of supply has kept prices down and a choppy credit market has made mortgages more difficult to obtain.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's business conditions index slumped to 3.9 in May from 18.5 the prior month. Analysts expected the gauge to increase to 20 for the month. The New York regional survey released Monday showed a far bigger-than-expected drop in manufacturing in the region.
Weekly jobless claims fell to 409,000 last week from 438,000 the prior week. Wall Street expected claims to fall to 420,000. The four-week-moving average, which helps smooth volatility in the weekly calculations, was up slightly to 439,000 from 437,750 last week.
Claims made a sudden jump above the highly-watched 400,000-level that indicates modest expansion in the jobs market in the last few weeks.
Many analysts have pinned much of the unexpected rise on seasonal factors that aren't mitigated by the Labor Department's seasonal adjustment calculation, and temporary weakness in the auto sector due to issues caused by the earthquake and tsunami that slammed Japan.
The commodities complex was largely in the red on Thursday.
Light, sweet crude dropped $1.66, or 1.7%, to $98.44 a barrel. Wholesale RBOB gasoline was down 3 cents, or 1%, to $2.93 a gallon.
"As global demand for oil increases seasonally from May to August, there is a clear, urgent need for additional supplies," The International Energy Agency said in a release.
"Additional increases in prices at this stage of the economic cycle risk derailing the global economic recovery."
Consumer gasoline prices are moderating considerably. A gallon of regular gas cost $3.91 on average nationwide, down from $3.98 last week and $2.85 last year.
In metals, gold slipped $3.40, or 0.23%, to $1,492 a troy ounce. Silver was off 17 cents, or 0.48%, to $34.93 a troy ounce.
The euro edged 0.39% higher against the U.S. dollar and the greenback wa off 0.33% against a basket of world currencies.
Big Lots (BIG) decided not to sell itself after private equity firms offered less than the discount chain initially anticipated, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. Shares were substantially lower on the news.
Sears (SHLD) revealed a wider-than-expected loss of $1.39 a share, excluding one-time charges, compared with $1.22 a share loss analysts forecast as sales sagged in the U.S. and Canada.
The English FTSE 100 was up 0.55% to 5,956, the French CAC 40 jumped 1.3% to 4,028 and the German DAX climbed 0.75% to 7,358.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 was off 0.43% to 9,621 and the Chinese Hang Seng gained 0.66% to 23,163.