Some of Wednesday’s optimism carried into Thursday at the market’s start before early-morning gains were blunted around midday. House Speaker John Boehner made some downbeat comments on the ongoing negotiations, with Boehner indicating at a press conference that “No substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House over the last two weeks.”
However, after wavering, markets recovered to post modest gains on the day — the Nasdaq finished up 0.68% at 3,012.03, the S&P 500 gained 0.43% to 1,415.95, and the Dow Jones nosed ahead 0.28% to 13,021.82.
Helping out on the economic side was a report showing an improving economy as the gross domestic product grew at a 2.7% annual rate in the third quarter, and weekly claims for unemployment benefits fell 23,000 to 393,000.
Tech stocks led the way forward Thursday. Recent investor enthusiasm for Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) continued after a positive Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) report, and the stock moved ahead nearly 4% on the day. Wall Street also saw strong advances in the social sector, where Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA, +4.4%), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB, +3.6%) and Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN, +2.7%) all enjoyed healthy gains.
Grocery chain Kroger (NYSE:KR) also headed higher by 4% after posting better-than-expected results for the third quarter and lifting its outlook for the year.
Conversely, SuperValu (NYSE:SVU) was hammered nearly 19% as reports surfaced that talks with private equity group Cerberus were stalled, with lenders concerned over the struggling company’s ability to service debt.
Clothing and specialty retailers pared back gains from Wednesday as disappointing figure out across Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS, -12%), Tiffany (NYSE:TIF, -6.2%), Gap (NYSE:GPS, -4.1%), and Macy’s (NYSE:M, -4.3%) took down a large swath of the segment.
Lastly, bookseller Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) was hit heavily by poor earnings, and its shares fell more than 11% on the day.
- Coldwater Creek (NASDAQ:CWTR): Up 17.7% (86 cents) to $5.73.
- Mcmoran Exploration (NYSE:MMR): Up 8.7% (71 cents) to $8.90.
- Aruba Networks (NASDAQ:ARUN): Up 7.3% ($1.35) to $19.83.
- Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP): Down 5.3% ($4.14) to $73.93.
- Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO): Down 5% (70 cents) to $13.42.
- Yelp (NYSE:YELP): Down 3.7% (75 cents) to $19.45.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.