U.S. stocks moved ahead with strength and conviction on Thursday, even though economic reports released in the morning painted a mixed picture.
However, Spain released its official 2013 budget, showing that the country’s government is prepared to move ahead with austerity cuts, and what was a mild rally turned decidedly upward in the afternoon. The rally snapped a five-day losing streak.
For the record, the Nasdaq finished up 1.39% to 3,136, the S&P 500 closed up 0.96% at 1,447, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished ahead 0.54% to 13,485.
Domestic growth continues to lag, as second-quarter GDP numbers were revised down to 1.3% from the 1.7% reported in August. At the same time, slower durable goods orders and pending home sales lagged. Pending home sales actually dropped by 2.6% instead of the expected 0.5% increase. In the day’s only good news on the domestic front, the number of first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell, hitting its lowest level since July.
On the earnings front, banking and credit-card services company Discover Financial (NYSE:DFS) rose over 6% on the day after announcing Street-beating revenues and earnings for the fiscal third-quarter, powered by loan growth and falling delinquency rates. Thursday’s bump continued the company’s strong run for the year.
InvestorPlace Dependable Dividend Stock McCormick & Co. (NYSE:MKC) announced it beat earnings estimates but missed revenue expectations during the third quarter, and increased guidance for the remainder of the year, but the stock slid about 2%. Retailer Hennes & Mauritz (PINK:HNNMY), better known as H&M, closed 4% lower after missing revenue and earnings forecasts for the third quarter.
Tempur-Pedic (NYSE:TPX) announced it was buying mattress competitor Sealy (NYSE:ZZ) for $228 million, or $2.20 per share. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) will provide Tempur-Pedic with $1.77 billion to finance the acquisition and the retirement of some debt. TPX shares surged 15% on the day; ZZ climbed just more than 2%, finishing right under the purchase price.
Finally, the National Football League came to a resolution with its closed-out referees, with the regular refs getting back to work starting with today’s Cleveland-Baltimore game. Office fans of both teams agree it should add legitimacy to the impending beatdown of the Browns.
Friday’s earnings notables include Walgreen (NYSE:WAG), American Greetings (NYSE:AM), and Finish Line (NASDAQ:FINL).
- First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR): Up 11% ($2.30) to $23.20.
- Kayak (NASDAQ:KYAK): Up 9.15% ($2.99) to $25.67.
- Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN): Up 7% (91 cents) to $13.88.
- RadioShack (NYSE:RSH): Down 6.5% (17 cents) to $2.43.
- Annaly Capital (NYSE:NLY): Down 3% (52 cents) to $16.84.
- Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI): Down 2.65% (31 cents) to $11.37.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.