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4:15 PM, Apr 8, 2010 --

  • NYSE up 19 (0.3%) to 7,565.30.
  • DJIA up 29.6 (0.3%) to 10,927.
  • S&P 500 up 4 (0.3%) to 1,186.
  • Nasdaq up 5.7 (0.2%) to 2,437.

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Hang Seng down 0.28%
  • Nikkei down 1.1%
  • FTSE down 0.88%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) RPC jumps on cancer detection progress comments.

(+) LCC reports say merger talks with UAUA ongoing.

(+) UAUA reports say merger talks with LCC ongoing.

(+) CIGX in collaboration on beta-amyloid discovery.

(+) ULU to present Altrazeal clinical evidence at conference.

(+) PIR Q4 EPS miss, sales improve.

(+) TGT among higher volume retail movers, after March sales results.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) FRX announces drug results, gets downgraded.

(-) BEXP prices shares.

(-) JCP March sales up 5.4%; Q1 EPS guidance straddles Street view.

MARKET DIRECTION

Stocks end marginally firmer, in the middle of the day's range, recovering from earlier declines, including a 50-point drop for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Mostly positive March retail sales results proved enough to offset lingering Greece worries and an unexpected, though holiday-impacted, rise in weekly jobless benefits claims.

Several retailers reported improved March same-store results this morning and boosted their earnings guidance. The International Council of Shopping Centers expects retailers sector-wide to report an 8% to 10% rise in March same-store sales. Stocks trading higher include: Target (NYSE:TGT), Gap (NYSE:GPS), Pier 1 (NYSE:PIR), Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) and Hot Topic (NASDAQ:HOTT). Decliners include American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO), Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) and Costco (NASDAQ:COST).

Deal speculation was also supportive. US Airways (LCC) and UAL Corp. (UAUA) gained as the two companies were the subject of a New York Times story last night detailing merger talks between them.

Stocks initially reacted negatively to other economic data. Data showed the number of workers filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week. But the jump reflected volatility from the Easter holiday.

Global stocks had been under pressure amid continued reaction to Wednesday's news that Greek banks wanted access to a 28 billion euro government support package. The yield premium demanded on a 10-year Greek government bond stretched to 4.4 percentage points today, the widest since the euro was launched in 1999.

Crude oil futures ended moderately lower Thursday, with prices extending losses as a rising dollar and a negative jobless claims report renewed worries about energy demand.

Crude oil for May delivery, the most active contract, declined 49 cents, or 0.6%, to $85.39 a barrel. Crude for June delivery lost 48 cents, or 0.6%, to $86.03 a barrel.

Natural gas for May delivery lost 11 cents, or 2.7%, to $3.90 per million British thermal units. A weekly report on natural gas storages showed an increase, but the build was within market expectations.

Gold for June delivery, the most active contract, lost 10 cents, or 0.01%, to settle at $1,152.90 an ounce, following Wednesday's highest finish of the year for a most-traded contract.

Source: Equities Update: Retail Sales Lead Modest Stock Recovery