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U.S. stocks surge for third consecutive session

04-22-2011 15:00 BJT

NEW YORK, April 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks gained on Thursday, posting a third winning streak, mainly driven by strong first quarter earning reports. The gains, however, were limited by mixed economic reports.

Apple Inc. posted its quarterly earnings after Wednesday's closing bell. Due to strong sales of its iphone and ipad, the technology company saw a large revenue of 24.67 billion dollars in the first quarter, up 83 percent from the same quarter last year.

General Electric posted its first quarter revenue of 38.45 billion dollars on Thursday, a rise of 6 percent, while McDonald' s posted a higher-than-expected quarterly revenue of 6.1 billion, up 9 percent year-on-year.

Morgan Stanley reported a sharp decline of its first quarter profit, posting 736 million dollars, down nearly 50 percent from the same quarter last year. The investment bank attributed its losses in profit to the big drop in bond trading revenue. It said bond trading results were lower mainly because of weakness in credit products, which typically include corporate bonds and credit derivatives.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 403,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The number still hovered above key level of 400,000, suggesting the recovery of labor market still lacked momentum.

The stock markets hesitated to gain in Thursday's mid-day trading as two separate reports showed different results on business activities, which confused investors. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index fell to 18.5 in April from 43.4 the month before, raising concerns over business activities.

However, a separate report by The Conference Board said its measure of future economic activity rose 0.4 percent in March, the ninth straight monthly increase.

The oil and gold prices kept momentum as the oil futures price broke through 112 dollars a barrel, while the gold settled above 1, 500 dollar an ounce, the highest level ever.

The basic material and capital goods sectors were among the biggest winners on Thursday's trading with more than 1 percent gain, while conglomerates and healthcare sectors dragged the market by declining less than 1 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 52.45 points, or 0.42 percent, to 12,505.99. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 7.02 points, or 0.53 percent, to 1,337.38. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 17.65 points, or 0.63 percent, to 2,820.16.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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