S&P reverses, rises 6 points
NEW YORK — Upbeat news about jobs and retailers helped the Standard & Poor's 500 index snap its longest losing streak of the year on Thursday.
Unemployment claims fell close to their lowest level in six years, the government reported, and J.C. Penney and Bed Bath & Beyond delivered encouraging news.
The positive trends outweighed worries about a potential government shutdown in Washington next week. Those concerns had led the S&P 500 index to five consecutive days of declines, the index's worst run in 2013.
That ended when the S&P 500 index rose six points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 1,698.67.
“There's a little bit of a bounce here,” said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners. “It may be a little bit of bargain hunting.”
The broad index is less than 2 percent below its all-time high from Sept. 18.
The economic growth rose to an annual rate of 2.5 percent from April through June, the Commerce Department reported on Thursday. That was an increase from the 1.1 percent growth in the previous quarter.
Applications for unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 305,000 last week, the government said, the fewest since September 2007, three months before the Great Recession began.
While the economic news was encouraging, it wasn't spectacular. Some analysts said it justified the Federal Reserve's surprise decision last week to keep up its economic stimulus.
The central bank has been buying $85 billion of bonds a month to keep long-term interest rates low, which has encouraged borrowing and driven up stock prices.
Wall Street had expected the Fed to start easing back on its stimulus.
“It's fair to say that the Fed got it right by delaying” the cuts to stimulus, said Ron Florance, deputy chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank. “Growth is uninteresting and subdued.”
Growth-sensitive retail stocks were among the best performers in the 10 industry groups that make up the S&P 500 index.
The group got a lift from troubled department store owner J.C. Penney, which said it was pleased with its turnaround efforts.
The company's stock ended the day up 30 cents, or 3 percent, at $10.42.
Shares, however, fell more than 5 percent in after-market trading on the company's announcement that it planned to sell up to 96.6 million shares of common stock in a public offering. It was the latest indication the chain is looking to shore up its cash reserves.
Bed Bath & Beyond gave the industry a boost. The stock climbed $3.32, or 4 percent, to $77.54 when the company said its quarterly profit increased 11 percent.
Other stock indexes rose. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 55 points, or 0.4 percent, to 15,328. The Nasdaq climbed 26 points, or 0.7 percent, to 3,787.
In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year note edged up to 2.64 percent from 2.63 percent late Wednesday.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- MSA Safety products in demand to protect workers in dangerous jobs
- Emergency room visits decline as navigators steer patients to proper medical care
- U.S. Steel warns it may lay off almost 2,000 workers in Alabama, Texas
- Shale sector won’t gut area workforce
- Chevron laying off 162 workers from Moon-based unit
- Energy companies vie for experienced workers with skills in high demand
- Drillers bid millions for oil, gas beneath West Virginia public lands
- Drops in gasoline prices won’t likely last, analysts say
- Energy industry says it’s on top of methane leaks, but environmentalists want oversight
- Energy-saving tactics pay off in Green Workplace Challenge
- Beaver County power plant cleaning up spill into creek