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DOW, S&P, NASDAQ Rise Slightly On Jobless Claims Data

|Includes: GRA, Netflix, Inc. (NFLX), PLCE

US stocks closed marginally higher on Thursday afternoon as U.S weekly jobless claims declined.

For the week ending October 16, U.S. initial jobless claims fell to 452,000 from the unrevised 462,000 for the week before.   Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the figure to come in at 455,000.

The Philadelphia Fed Survey, an index which measures manufacturing conditions within the Philadelphia Federal Reserve district, came in at 1, as expected, after being in negative territory for the past two months.  A negative index signals a contraction, while a positive index signals expansion.

Meanwhile, China's economy cooled to a 9.6% increase year-over-year during the third quarter, after growing by 10.3% in the second quarter and 11.9% in the first quarter.  Despite the slowing growth, consumer prices in China jumped 3.6%.

Earlier this week, People's Bank of China raised the one-year interest rate to 5.56% from 5.31%, the first rate increase since 2007.

In company news, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFL) rallied almost 13% after third quarter earnings grew by 26% from Q3 2009.

Other large percentage gainers include Spansion (NYSE:CODE), W.R. Grace & Co (NYSE:GRA) , and StanCorp Financial (NYSE:SFG), with all gaining roughly 7%.

Among the decliners, Children's Place Retail Stores (NASDAQ:PLCE) dropped 14% after its losses widened for the second quarter.
Office furniture provider HNI (NYSE:HNI) also went down by 15%, after Q3 earnings fell short of analyst estimates.

Fidelity National Financial (NYSE:FNF) and Life Time Fitness (NYSE:LTM) posted fair losses too, dropping 12% and 10%, respectively.

The S&P 500, the DOW and the NASDAQ increased 0.2%, 0.4% and 0.1%, respectively.


Commodities turned south after China reported slowing growth.  Oil futures lost about 2% to trade at $82.

Gold and silver lost about 1.5% and 3%, respectively, while copper futures reversed earlier gains this morning to post a 0.2% loss.

Canadian markets

The S&P/TSX index dropped about 0.3% to trade at 12,610.

Five of the eight Canadian sector indices posted losses.  The metals and mining sector managed to make a gain of 0.4%, despite the large commodity price drops.  The energy and healthcare sector were the largest decliners, dropping by 0.5% and 0.3%, respectively.

As expected though, shares of resource companies tanked on the back of weak commodity prices. Seabridge Gold (TSX:SEA) and Allied Nevada Gold (TSX: ANV) were the largest percentage losers among the group, dropping by 7% and 6.4%, respectively. Eldorado Gold(TSX: ELD) and Centamin Egypt (TSX:CEE) both fell 4.6%.

Lund Mining (TSX: LUN) jumped 11%, however, while Boliden (TSX:BLS) and Air Canada (TSX:AC.A) rallied 7.6% and 6%, respectively.

Disclosure: No Positions