Toward the end of trading Thursday, the Dow traded up 0.68 percent to 16,150.25 while the NASDAQ surged 0.76 percent to 4,270.19. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.70 percent to 1,841.61.
Leading and Lagging Sectors
Utilities sector surged 0.26%, saw CPFL Energia SA (NYSE: CPL) as the top gainer. Among leading sector stocks, gains came from Consolidated Water Co (NASDAQ: CWCO), Companhia Paranaense de Energia (NYSE: ELP) and Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE: PEG).
In trading on Thursday, technology shares were relative laggards, down on the day by about 0.08%. Top decliners in the sector included KVH Industries (NASDAQ: KVHI), off 4.87%, and Yandex NV (NASDAQ: YNDX), down 7.3%.
After the closing bell Wednesday, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) announced its plans to buy popular messaging service WhatsApp for $16 billion in cash and stock. Facebook will pay $12 billion in stock and $4 billion in cash, plus $3 billion in restricted stock units, to buy WhatsApp.
Equities Trading UP
AVG Technologies (NYSE: AVG) was on the rise Thursday, gaining 20.68 percent to $20.89 after the company impressed traders with its fourth quarter results. Shares of Portfolio Recovery Associates (NASDAQ: PRAA) got a boost, shooting up 18.32 percent to $59.73 after the company reported Q4 results and agreed to acquire Aktiv Kapital for $880 million.
Equities Trading DOWN
Shares of Conns (NASDAQ: CONN) were down 37.81 percent to $34.65 after the company issued a weak Q4 profit forecast. Oppenheimer downgraded the stock from Outperform to Market Perform and cut the price target from $92.00 to $44.00.
Millennial Media (NYSE: MM) shares tumbled 13.82 percent to $6.20 after the company reported downbeat Q4 revenue and issued a weak Q1 revenue guidance. The company also appointed Ross Levinsohn and Tom Evans to its Board of Directors.
Goodrich Petroleum (NYSE: GDP) was also down, falling 19.10 percent to $12.37 after the company's fourth quarter results missed street estimates significantly. Commodities
In commodity news, oil traded down 0.13 percent to $102.71, while gold traded up 0.17 percent to $1,322.60.
Silver traded up 1.35 percent Thursday to $21.82, while copper fell 0.12 percent to $3.28.
European shares were lower today.
The Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.35 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index declined 0.50 percent.
Meanwhile, the German DAX tumbled 1 percent and the French CAC 40 slipped 0.11 percent while U.K. shares declined 0.16 percent.
US jobless claims fell by 3,000 to 336,000 in the week ended February 15. However, economists were estimating claims to decline to 335,000 in the week.
US consumer prices climbed 0.1% in January, while the core CPI increased 0.1%. However, economists were projecting the overall CPI to gain 0.1% and core index to gain 0.1%.
The Markit PMI manufacturing index (flash) for February rose to 56.70, versus a prior reading of 53.70. However, economists were expecting a reading of 53.60.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to -30.60 in the latest week, versus a prior reading of-30.70.
US Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index fell to -6.30 in February, versus a prior reading of 9.40. However, economists were expecting a reading of 8.00.
The Conference Board's index of leading indicators increased 0.3% in January.
Data on money supply will be released at 4:30 p.m. ET.
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