Economic and corporate news — not political news — drove the markets on Thursday, as the Bureau of Economic Analysis revised its April-June gross domestic product annual rate to 2.5% vs 1.7%, suggesting the economy is expanding faster than originally forecast.
The unemployment picture brightened at bit too, as jobless claims fell to 331,000 last week, the fewest weekly claims in 5 years.
The combination helped lead the markets higher, as the Nasdaq had raced ahead 0.75% to close at 3620.30, while the S&P 500 gained 0.20% to 1638.17, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.11% at 14840.95
Vodafone (VOD) shares soared more than 8% on news that it would sell its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless back to Verizon (VZ). VZ shares moved ahead more than 2% on the news, making it the leading gainer on the Dow.
Clothing retailer Guess (GES) soared nearly 13% after announcing a beat on second quarter earnings and raising its full-year guidance. Sector mates American Apparel (APP, +2.67%) and Urban Outfitters (URBN, +1.29%) rose on the news.
The solid economic reports helped to lift homebuilders, with Lennar (LEN, +3.16%), KB Homes (KBH, +2.18%) and M/I Holdings (MHO, +1.79%) all higher on the day.
Tech stocks found the going better, too, with gains in Facebook (FB, 1.81%), and Microsoft (MSFT, +1.61%) leading the rebound.
On the down side, energy stocks gave up some of Wednesday’s gains, as oil prices fell slightly, with Exxon Mobil (XOM) Chevron (CVX), and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) all down more than 1%.
- Zale (ZLC): Up 7.48% (87 cents) to $12.50
- Zillow (Z): Up 7.42% ($6.60) to $95.60
- 3D Systems (DDD): up 4.92% ($2.48) to $52.91
- JaSolar (JASO): Down 6.91% (55 cents) to $7.41
- Arena Pharmaceutical (ARNA): Down 5.08% (34 cents) to $6.35
- Cliffs Natural (CLF): Down 3.10% (67 cents) to $20.97
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he was long VZ, MSFT, and XOM.