Stocks edge up; Hewlett-Packard leads Dow higher

US stocks rise in early trading even after jobless claims rise; Royal Dutch Shell drops

Associated Press
Stocks surge; Hewlett-Packard leads Dow higher
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In a Feb. 17, 2012 photo trader Anthony Satriale, right, works on …

NEW YORK (AP) -- Hewlett-Packard led the Dow Jones industrial average higher after a study found that shipments of personal computers unexpectedly rose to start the year.

Gartner Inc. found that Hewlett-Packard bolstered its position as the leader in PC shipments, claiming 17 percent of the world's shipments during the first three months of the year. The research group said total PC shipments increased 1.9 percent in the quarter.

Hewlett-Packard Co. surged 4.6 percent a half hour after the opening bell, the best performer in the Dow. The Dow rose 78 points to 12,883. That's a gain of 0.6 percent. The 30-stock average is still down 1.3 percent for the week.

U.S. stocks opened higher despite a rise in weekly unemployment claims. The Labor Department reported Thursday that applications for unemployment benefits jumped to 380,000 last week.

The previous week's figures were also revised higher and the less-volatile four-week average rose to 368,500. Treasury prices jumped after the report, as traders shifted money into safer assets.

Other stock indexes also rose. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 8 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,377. The Nasdaq composite gained 19 points to 3,036, also an increase of 0.6 percent.

Among stocks making big moves:

— Avid Technology Inc. dropped 14 percent. The maker of equipment for recording music and video said it expects to post a loss in the first quarter, a result of weaker demand from amateur musicians and DJs.

—McKesson Corp. jumped 4.8 percent after reporting that the Department of Veteran Affairs agreed to keep McKesson as its main pharmaceutical supplier. The VA runs one of the country's largest healthcare systems.

— Royal Dutch Shell PLC fell less than 1 percent on news of an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico near wells operated by Shell Oil.

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