4:13 PM, Mar 11, 2010 --
- NYSE up 25.5 (0.4%) to 7,353.21.
- DJIA up 44 (0.4%) to 10,612.
- S&P 500 up 4 (0.4%) to 1,150.
- Nasdaq up 9.5 (0.4%) to 2,368.
- Hang Seng up 0.9%
- Nikkei up 0.96%
- FTSE down 0.41%
(+) FRPT inks contract.
(+) GYMB continues evening advance seen on better-than-expected results, guidance.
(+) LVLT gets analyst upgrade.
(+) DVN, BP both gain as DVN selling $7 bln in assets to BP.
(+) CLNE beats with Q4.
(+) TEAR inks deal with TLCVision.
(+) FCEL inks new deal, reports results.
(+) DPS gets upgrade.
(+) BPAX jumps on Leukemia vaccine study results.
(-) SFD beats with Q3 EPS, sales shy.
(-) MW continues evening decline that followed sales miss.
(-) YHOO gets analyst downgrade
(-) JTX misses Q3 estimates.
Stocks turned higher in afternoon trading, but were confined to the tight trading ranges that have dominated action all this week. Still, with the slim closing gain, stocks have advanced over three straight sessions. Financial shares fronted the rebound. A lackluster jobless claims report and signs of inflation acceleration in China depressed stocks in the early going.
Stocks have been looking for clear direction for the last two days. The Dow and S&P 500 have been hovering near 15-month highs, but investors seem more interested in consolidating positions and waiting for more evidence the economy is improving.
This morning, the Labor Department set the tone for trading when it said the number of workers filing for first-time jobless benefits fell by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 462,000 last week. Economists forecast 460,000, according to Thomson Reuters.
The Commerce Department also reported that the country's trade deficit fell in January on declines in imported oil and cars. U.S. exports dipped 0.3%, cooling some hopes that exports would help drive the domestic recovery.
Meanwhile, China reported that its inflation rate jumped 2.7% in February from 1.5% in January, raising concern that the economic giant may raise interest rates to cool its economy. The move could slow one of the world's fastest-growing economies and put a damper on a global recovery.
On Wednesday, China announced that exports grew 46% in February compared with last year, signaling a rise in consumer demand around the globe, and particularly in the United States. It's the third consecutive monthly increase and the fastest pace in three years. Chinese imports also increased by 45%.
Another key driver of trading -- corporate deal-making -- continues. BP PLC (BP) said it would pay $7 billion to acquire from Devon Energy Corp. (DVN) exploration rights in Brazil, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Caspian Sea. Devon is up 1% in early trading; BP is down fractionally.
Financial stocks are also higher at mid-day, while a Citi Financial Services Conference in New York is providing some insights into the operations of top banks. Citi (C) CEO Vikram Pandit is talking about Citi's profitability in the coming years.