U.S. retail sales rose 0.6%, beating expectations and the best reading since February, and applications for first-time unemployment claims dipped. That good news helped investors shrug off worries about tumult in international equity markets and sent the major indices off to solid gains.
By day’s end, the S&P 500 rose 1.48% to close at 1636.36, the Nasdaq moved ahead 1.32% to finish at 3445.37, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 1.21% to 15176.08.
Media company Gannett (GCI), the publisher of USA TODAY, roared ahead by about 34% after announcing it would buy television station owner Belo (BLC) for $1.5 billion, or $13.75 per share — a 28% premium to Belo’s Wednesday closing price. The deal that will double the number of television stations Gannett owns.
Grocery chain Safeway (shares rose over 7% after it announced late Wednesday that it was selling its Canadian operations to Sobey’s for $5.68 billion. Safeway said it will use the proceeds from the sale to pay down $2 billion in debt, buy back stock and support growth elsewhere.
Lastly, beauty products company Coty ( made )its public debut on the New York Stock Exchange after raising $1 billion through an initial public offering that priced shares at $17.50 apiece. Shares of the cosmetics maker dipped just under 1%, closing below the IPO price.
- CEVA (CEVA): Up 8.9% ($1.43) to $17.44.
- Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF): Up 7.7% ($1.33) to $18.95.
- Blackberry (BBRY): Up 6.5% (88 cents) to $14.44.
- Barnes & Noble (BKS): Down 8.7% ($1.86) to $19.44.
- Live Nation (LYV): Down 3.8% (71 cents) to $15.56.
- Michael Kors (KORS): Down 1.7% ($1.03) to $59.50.
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.