Economic news got the markets off on the right foot Thursday, as the Labor Department reported the number of filers for unemployment benefits last week fell to a five-year low.
While ADP reported that employers added 176,000 jobs in August, slightly below estimates, the jobs data was enough to help carry markets higher. The Nasdaq forged ahead 0.27% to 3658.78, the S&P 500 rose 0.12% to 1655.08, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up fractionally at 14,937.48.
Groupon (GRPN) rose more than 3% after Morgan Stanley upgraded it to “overweight” from “equal weight.” Also rising on analyst love was Netflix (NFLX), which inched up fractionally after RBC put a $330 price target on the stock, or roughly 13% upside from Wednesday’s closing price.
Retailers Costco (COST, +2.8%) and Walgreen (WAG, +1.4%) both headed higher on better-than-expected same-store sales. Elsewhere in retail, JCPenney (JCP) announced it would no longer carry the Martha Stewart (MSO) brand in its stores. The stock, which has been getting new attention from the hedge fund world, improved more than 5%.
- Himax (HIMX): Up 17.3% ($1.27) to $8.62.
- Louisiana-Pacific (LPX): Up 11.1% ($1.69) to $16.95.
- Sears Holding (SHLD): Up 6.3% ($2.83) to $47.96.
- Conn’s (CONN): Down 11.7% ($8.00) to $60.31.
- Vivus (VVUS): Down 8.9% ($1.06) to $10.84.
- Iamgold (IAG): Down 4.3% (26 cents) to $5.84.
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.