Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wall Street Climbs As Technology Stocks Rally, General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) Gains

US stocks finished higher on Thursday as a rally in technology sector helped offset disappointing reports on economic growth and the labor market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8.10 points, or 0.07%, to finish at 12,402.76. The S&P 500 added 5.22 points, or 0.40%, to close at 1,325.69. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 21.54 points, or 0.78%, to 2,782.92.

In its second estimate of quarterly gross domestic product released Thursday, the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy expanded at the same 1.8% clip that was initially forecast. Economists had been expecting GDP growth to be revised up to 2.2% for the January-March quarter. The economy had expanded at a 3.1% rate in the fourth quarter.

A release by Department of Labor on Thursday showed that number of Americans filing first- time claims for unemployment benefits rose 10,000 to 424,000 in the latest week.

Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) reported Thursday that its first-quarter earnings rose to $81.1 million, or 63 cents a share, from $64.4 million, or 50 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 67 cents a share in the latest quarter. Revenue rose by 20% to $761 million. Analysts, on average, expected the company to report earnings of 57 cents per share on revenue of $703.32 million. Sharesof the company surged $6, or 8.57%, to $76.04.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) rose 48 cents, or 1.98%, to $24.67 on Thursday after hedge-fund investor David Einhorn called for Microsoft Corp.’s board to replace Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, saying the software maker suffers from “Charlie Brown management.”

Shares of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) rose 20 cents, or 1.04%, to close at $19.42.

European stocks closed mixed. The UK FTSE rose 10.85 points, or 0.18% to 5,880.99. The German DAX and French CAC decreased 0.79% and 0.30% respectively.

Asian stocks finished higher. The Nikkei 225 rose 139.17 points, or 1.48%, to 9,562.05. The Hang Seng index of Hong Kong added 153.51 points, or 0.67%, to 22,900.79.

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