The U.S. stock market was largely higher on Thursday despite mixed economic data. Strength was seen in financials, utilities, energy and industrials, while technology shares lagged.
On the economic front, the Philadelphia Fed Index was particularly strong in July, but the Conference Board's Index of Leading Indicators came in below estimates.
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Numerous stocks made big moves in the wake of earnings reports, including technology giants Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY).
After the close on Thursday, both Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are expected to release quarterly results.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 78 points, or 0.50 percent, to close at 15,549.
The S&P 500 added 8 points, or 0.50 percent, to 1,689.
The Nasdaq was up a little over a point, or 0.04 percent, to 3,611.
Initial claims for the week ending July 13 fell to 334,000 from 358,000 in the prior week. This compared to consensus estimates calling for initial jobless claims of 348,000.
Continuing claims for the week ending July 6 rose by 91,000 to 3.114 million. This compared to consensus estimates calling for a decline to 2.950 million.
The Philadelphia Fed Index, which measures regional manufacturing activity, rose to 19.8 in July from 12.5 for June. This was significantly ahead of consensus estimates which expected the index to come in at 5.3. A reading above zero denotes expansion in manufacturing.
The Conference Board's Index of Leading Indicators was unchanged in June compared to an increase of 0.3 percent in the prior month. This compared to consensus estimates calling for a rise of 0.3 percent.
Crude oil prices rose during Thursday's trading session. At last check, NYMEX crude futures had added 1.40 percent to $107.97. Brent crude futures were last trading up around 0.10 percent to $108.72. Natural gas futures surged around 5 percent on the day and were last trading at $3.81.
Precious metals were mixed on the day with gold rising and silver recording a very small loss. Near the close, COMEX gold futures were up 0.66 percent to $1,287.20 while silver contracts had lost 0.05 percent to $19.41. Copper was last trading up 0.06 percent to $3.1305.
The grains complex was largely lower on Thursday. In afternoon trade, corn was down around 0.25 percent while wheat had lost 0.68 percent. Movers in soft commodities included cocoa and lumber. Cocoa futures climbed a little less than 2 percent while cocoa futures added slightly more than 2 percent.
Bonds fell sharply on the session. At last check, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE:TLT) was down around 1.07 percent to $107.68. The fall in prices drove yields higher on the day.
Treasury yields were as follows on Thursday afternoon: The 2-Year Note yield was sitting at 0.31 percent while the yield on the 5-Year Note was 1.34 percent. The 10-Year Note and 30-Year Bond were yielding 2.53 percent and 3.63 percent, respectively.
Late in the day, the U.S. Dollar was trading up. At last check, the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE:UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, had climbed 0.18 percent to $22.42.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair was last trading down 0.08 percent to $1.3102. Other movers on the day included the USD/JPY, which climbed 0.92 percent, and the AUD/USD, which lost 0.64 percent.
Volatility and Volume
The VIX was slightly lower on the day amid a rally in the Dow and S&P. The widely watched barometer of volatility expectations was last down 1.31 percent to 13.60.
Volume remained light on Thursday. Around 79 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) shares traded hands compared to a 3-month daily average of 139 million.
Shanda Games (NASDAQ:GAME) had climbed around 17 percent late in the day on Thursday after the company's iOS version of "Million Arthur" became the third top-grossing app in Apple's App Store in China.
Supervalu (NYSE:SVU) jumped around 17 percent on Thursday after the company released better than expected fiscal first-quarter results.
Shares of Berry Plastics (NYSE:BERY) jumped around 11 percent after the company announced the pricing of a previously declared secondary offering.
Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI) rose around 8 percent on the day after reporting a 32 percent rise in its fiscal third-quarter earnings.
Plexus (NASDAQ:PLXS) jumped around 8 percent on Thursday after the company released its fiscal third-quarter earnings results.
Shares of Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX) climbed better than 5 percent after the company's first-quarter earnings rose 21 percent.
Intel lost almost 4 percent on Thursday after the chip maker reported a second-quarter profit decline of 29 percent. The company also lowered its full-year revenue guidance.
eBay lost nearly 7 percent on the session in the wake of the company's fiscal second-quarter earnings report which was released after the market close on Wednesday.
Shares of Select Comfort (NASDAQ:SCSS) shed a little less than 10 percent after the company's reported a 42 percent decline in second-quarter earnings.
Sherwin-Williams (NYSE:SHW) fell more than 8 percent after the company's second-quarter earnings and revenue missed Wall Street expectations.
Fairchild Semiconductor (NYSE:FCS) lost almost 11 percent after its second-quarter results missed Wall Street estimates.
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