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Dow Surges Triple-Digits on ECB, Jobless Claims

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

The Dow logged a triple-digit gain boosted by the European Central Bank's move to lower its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to a new low of 0.50%. The news came on the heels of yesterday's FOMC statement saying it will continue buying $85 billion in bonds every month for the time being and might even boost that amount. More well-received information came from the Labor Department. It says jobless claims hit a five-year low last week, taking a surprise drop down to 324,000. That's down from 339,000 in the prior week, and handily beat estimates of 345,000.

General Motors (GM) surged 4% on the company's quarterly earnings. The automaker blew past estimates posting profits of 67-cents a share when expectations were for 54-cents. The company also beat on revenues, helped by strong sales here in North America. GM is still 16% owned by the U.S. government.

Facebook (FB) shares moved a healthy 5% higher in reaction to the company's earnings which were released yesterday afternoon. Earnings missed by a penny, but the real story was the social network's beat on revenues. They came in at nearly $1.5 billion and were up 38% since last year. Some key stats: 30% of Facebook's revenue resulted from mobile advertising, which is often listed as the company's biggest hurdle. That's a jump from 23% in the prior quarter, highlighting how fast the shift is happening. The company says 2/3 of its members now log-in using mobile devices.

Yelp (YELP) rocketed an eye-popping 25% in reaction to its earnings report, even though the company didn't post a profit. Yelp reported after yesterday's closing bell that it lost 8-cents a share compared to estimates of a 6-cent loss per share. But the company's revenues were better than expected, up 68% from a year ago. Like Facebook, Yelp is also improving its outlook for the year citing success with display ads on mobile phones. Prior to today's gains, shares were already up more than 35% since the start of the year.

Shares of Cigna (CI) climbed over to 4% on a robust quarterly report. The insurer beat estimates, announcing profits rose 39% in the quarter to $1.72 a share. Revenue for the period also beat by more than $500 million and the company raised its forecast for the year citing double-digit percentage increases in many premiums.

Beazer Homes (BZH) also raised its roof. Shares popped 10% despite missing on earnings. However, revenues rose for the quarter and the company is improving its outlook. Beazer says it has been selling more homes and at higher prices. Still it lost 78-cents a share for the quarter.