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4:24 PM, Jul 8, 2010 --

  • NYSE up 70 (+0.6%) to 6,755.81
  • DJIA up 120.7 (+1.2%) to 10,139
  • S&P 500 up 10 (+0.9%) to 1,070
  • Nasdaq up 15.9 (+0.7%) to 2,175

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Hang Seng up 0.97%
  • Nikkei up 2.76%
  • FTSE up 1.64%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) JASO inks supply agreement.

(+) JCP says June same-store sales up 4.5%.

(+) LYG among active UK banks following positive Credit Suisse analyst note.

(+) M says June same-store sales up 6.5%.

(+) ANF says June same-store sales up 9%.

(+) LDK inks supply pact.

(+) AFFX gets analyst downgrade.

(+) BP report says company working to fix Gulf well by July 27.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) ARO down despite 8% June same-store sales.

(-) GPS reports flat same-store sales results, below Street view.

(-) AEO says same-store sales down 1%.

(-) DRWI continues evening plunge that followed revenue miss, disappointing guidance.

(-) GYMB raises Q2 view after June sales results.

(-) WFC turns lower again after choppy early trading followed modest evening decline on layoff news.

MARKET DIRECTION

Stock averages end in the upper portion of the day's range thanks to a late surge. A choppy but mostly firmer session followed a drop in jobless claims and a mixed bag in June for retailers.

The government said initial claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to their lowest levels since early May. Claims fell to 454,000, better than the 465,000 forecast by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

Mixed June retail sales results trickled in this morning, the result of warm weather but cautious consumers lured mostly by discounts. Among the movers, Gap (GPS) fell after reporting flat sales, not the increase analysts expected. Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) shares jumped after its 7.2% June sales rise handily beat expectations.

Global stocks gained and U.S. shares got an early boost after the International Monetary Fund raised its world growth estimate for the year to 4.6% from 4.2%. The climb also comes as the European Central Bank wrapped up a meeting where it kept a key interest rate unchanged. The Bank of England also left its key rate untouched.

The euro rose to $1.2673, its highest level since May.

Commodities finished mixed with crude responding to a a solid jobs report, even if equities are having a mixed day, while gold futures were lower on euro strength and an improved outlook for the global economy.

Crude-oil for August delivery ended up 1.9%, or $1.37, at $75.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In other energy futures, heating oil rose 1.5%, or $0.02, to $2 a gallon while natural gas fell 3.5%, or $0.16, to $4.40 per million British thermal units.

Gold for August delivery fell $2.80, or 0.2%, to $1,196.10 an ounce. In other metal futures, silver fell $0.12, or 0.67%, to $17.88 a troy ounce while copper rose 0.12% to $3.02 a pound.

In other company news:

BP (BP) gained after saying it aims to fix its leaking Gulf oil well by July 27, earlier than its previous target of mid-August, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing company officials. The goal is to show investors its oil spill liabilities will be limited, the report said.

Merck & Co. (MRK) gained as it planned to close eight research facilities and eight manufacturing plants, according to The Wall Street Journal. The move is part of Merck's cost-savings plan initially laid out when the company acquired Schering-Plough.

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) chopped in mixed trade as the company is reportedly in talks with construction executive Ronald Tutor to sell its Miramax film label in partnership with Colony Capital, according to Bloomberg, citing "two people with knowledge of the talks." Negotiations are reportedly continuing around the clock the report said. If the parties agree to terms, an agreement may be announced by next week, the report said.

News Corp. (NWS) gained; it's reportedly not in talks to sell its social networking site MySpace, according to a Reuters report, citing that company's digital chief Jonathan Miller.

Shares of Sun Bancorp (SNBC) were sharply higher after news that billionaire investor Wilbur Ross is taking a 25% stake in bank, according to a Reuters report.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) sees share buybacks reducing shares outstanding by $3 billion according to a Reuters report.

Source: Third Straight Gain for Dow Fronts Broad Stock Advance