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Analysts said it may be hard for the upward momentum to continue without further catalysts, such as earnings. Photo: Eric Thayer/Reuters  (Eric Thayer/Reuters)
Analysts said it may be hard for the upward momentum to continue without further catalysts, such as earnings. Photo: Eric Thayer/Reuters (Eric Thayer/Reuters)

Wall Street resumes advance, boosted by earnings

Jobless claims unexpectedly fall in latest week; Dow up 0.1%; S&P flat; Nasdaq up 0.3%

New York: US stocks turned slightly higher on Thursday afternoon, helped by more upbeat earnings and data showing signs of improvement in the labour market.

The market, which had been down slightly from the opening bell through midday, reversed course and began to edge higher between 1.00pm and 1.30pm. If stocks stay aloft, the S&P 500 could register its sixth straight day of a record close, and the Dow would post its third.

But the length of the recent rally has surprised many investors. Analysts said it may be hard for the upward momentum to continue without further catalysts, such as earnings. Companies are nearly finished reporting first-quarter results.

Boosting the S&P 500, News Corp. shares gained 5.2% to $33.51. It reported earnings late Wednesday that beat expectations while revenue rose 14%. Rupert Murdoch’s media company also said it was on track to split off its slow-growing publishing business by the end of June.

Volume, too, has been below average for a good part of the recent rally.

“If you used volume as an indicator, you would have been out of the market a long time ago. It has not been a good indicator as a timing device," said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial in Westport, Connecticut.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 15.92%, or 0.11%, at 15,121.04. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was unchanged at 1,632.69. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 10.85%, or 0.32%, at 3,424.12.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in almost 5-1/2 years—contrary to economists’ forecast of a gain—US Labour Department data showed.

Among other top advancers, Tesla Motors Inc. surged 30% to $72.50 a day after posting adjusted earnings that were three times what analysts were expecting as the company sold more cars than it had initially forecast.

Shares of Barnes & Noble Inc. shot up 19.3% to $21.20, after hitting a fresh 52-week high of $22.25. The stock’s sharp advance followed a report by web publication TechCrunch that Microsoft Corp. was considering an offer to acquire all of Nook Media’s digital assets for $1 billion. Microsoft shares slipped 0.3% to $32.89. REUTERS

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