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Stocks Edge Higher After Jobs, Housing Reports

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stocks up dl e1283459820882 Stocks Edge Higher After Jobs, Housing ReportsStocks are closing with modest gains after reports on housing, manufacturing and jobs indicated the economy continues to grow, although slowly.

Trading was slightly muted Thursday head of a closely watched monthly report on employment that’s due out Friday. First-time claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week.

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 50 points, or 0.5 percent, to 10,320.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 9, or 0.9 percent, to 1,090, while the Nasdaq rose 23, or 1.1 percent, to 2,200.

About two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume was light at 930 million shares.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks edged higher Thursday after reports on housing, manufacturing and jobs indicated the economy continues to grow, albeit slowly.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 25 points in late afternoon trading. Broader indexes also rose.

Even though the latest economic data pointed to modest improvements, Thursday’s moves were muted because traders are cautious ahead of the government’s monthly report on employment due out Friday. Traders often limit big moves before the jobs data because it is considered so vital to determining the health of the economy.

“We’re treading water,” said Dan Genter, CEO of RNC Genter Capital. Traders are waiting to see if Friday’s jobs data “provides more of a rescue or a shark attack.”

The monthly report is likely to provide further evidence that the jobs market remains weak. The Labor Department’s monthly data is expected to indicate employers are still not hiring workers in large numbers. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predict the unemployment rate inched up to 9.6 percent last month from 9.5 percent in July as private employers hired just 41,000 workers last month.

With little broad conviction about the health of the economy, investors chose to target specific stocks following monthly retail sales reports and the latest acquisition activity.

“It’s a trader’s market,” said Kenneth Polcari, managing director at ICAP Equities.

Burger King Holdings Inc. and data storage provider 3Par Inc. both rose after agreeing to be acquired. Limited Brands Inc., which operates Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, got a lift from strong August sales.

The Dow rose 25.32 or 0.2 percent, to 10,294.79 in afternoon trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 6.62, or 0.6 percent, to 1,086.91, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 16.36, or 0.8 percent, to 2,193.20.

The Labor Department said first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week, but remain well above levels that indicate a healthy economy. Claims dipped for the second straight week. They fell slightly below the level economists had forecast, which was somewhat encouraging ahead of Friday’s monthly employment report.

The number of buyers who signed contracts to purchase homes rose 5.2 percent in July after hitting a record low in June, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales plummeted in the months following the expiration of the government’s home buyer tax credit in April and economists were expecting that trend to continue for a third straight month.

Factory orders also climbed, rising 0.1 percent in July. The rise in orders backs up a report Wednesday showing the manufacturing sector continues to expand. Major indexes jumped more than 2 percent Wednesday after a surprising rise in manufacturing activity.

Bond prices dipped after the economic reports. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 2.63 percent from 2.58 percent late Wednesday. Its often used as a gauge to set interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans.

About three stocks rose for every two that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 630 million shares.

Limited shares jumped $1.15, or 4.7 percent, to $25.42.

Shares of 3Par rose 76 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $32.84 after Hewlett-Packard Co. won a bidding war for the data storage provider. Hewlett-Packard raised its bid to $33 per share after competitor Dell Inc. offered $32 per share.

Hewlett-Packard shares climbed 35 cents to $39.56. Dell shares actually rose after it said it would not match HP’s bid. They rose 23 cents to $12.35.

Burger King jumped $4.57, or 24.2 percent, to $23.43. It is being taken private for $3.26 billion, or $24 per share.

Mariner Energy Inc. shares dropped after an oil rig it owns exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. The rig was not currently producing oil. Its shares fell 57 cents to $22.78.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Stocks are closing with modest gains after reports on housing, manufacturing and jobs indicated the economy continues to grow, although slowly.

Trading was slightly muted Thursday head of a closely watched monthly report on employment that’s due out Friday. First-time claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week.

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 50 points, or 0.5 percent, to 10,320.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 9, or 0.9 percent, to 1,090, while the Nasdaq rose 23, or 1.1 percent, to 2,200.

About two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume was light at 930 million shares.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks edged higher Thursday after reports on housing, manufacturing and jobs indicated the economy continues to grow, albeit slowly.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 25 points in late afternoon trading. Broader indexes also rose.

Even though the latest economic data pointed to modest improvements, Thursday’s moves were muted because traders are cautious ahead of the government’s monthly report on employment due out Friday. Traders often limit big moves before the jobs data because it is considered so vital to determining the health of the economy.

“We’re treading water,” said Dan Genter, CEO of RNC Genter Capital. Traders are waiting to see if Friday’s jobs data “provides more of a rescue or a shark attack.”

The monthly report is likely to provide further evidence that the jobs market remains weak. The Labor Department’s monthly data is expected to indicate employers are still not hiring workers in large numbers. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predict the unemployment rate inched up to 9.6 percent last month from 9.5 percent in July as private employers hired just 41,000 workers last month.

With little broad conviction about the health of the economy, investors chose to target specific stocks following monthly retail sales reports and the latest acquisition activity.

“It’s a trader’s market,” said Kenneth Polcari, managing director at ICAP Equities.

Burger King Holdings Inc. and data storage provider 3Par Inc. both rose after agreeing to be acquired. Limited Brands Inc., which operates Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, got a lift from strong August sales.

The Dow rose 25.32 or 0.2 percent, to 10,294.79 in afternoon trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 6.62, or 0.6 percent, to 1,086.91, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 16.36, or 0.8 percent, to 2,193.20.

The Labor Department said first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week, but remain well above levels that indicate a healthy economy. Claims dipped for the second straight week. They fell slightly below the level economists had forecast, which was somewhat encouraging ahead of Friday’s monthly employment report.

The number of buyers who signed contracts to purchase homes rose 5.2 percent in July after hitting a record low in June, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales plummeted in the months following the expiration of the government’s home buyer tax credit in April and economists were expecting that trend to continue for a third straight month.

Factory orders also climbed, rising 0.1 percent in July. The rise in orders backs up a report Wednesday showing the manufacturing sector continues to expand. Major indexes jumped more than 2 percent Wednesday after a surprising rise in manufacturing activity.

Bond prices dipped after the economic reports. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 2.63 percent from 2.58 percent late Wednesday. Its often used as a gauge to set interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans.

About three stocks rose for every two that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 630 million shares.

Limited shares jumped $1.15, or 4.7 percent, to $25.42.

Shares of 3Par rose 76 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $32.84 after Hewlett-Packard Co. won a bidding war for the data storage provider. Hewlett-Packard raised its bid to $33 per share after competitor Dell Inc. offered $32 per share.

Hewlett-Packard shares climbed 35 cents to $39.56. Dell shares actually rose after it said it would not match HP’s bid. They rose 23 cents to $12.35.

Burger King jumped $4.57, or 24.2 percent, to $23.43. It is being taken private for $3.26 billion, or $24 per share.

Mariner Energy Inc. shares dropped after an oil rig it owns exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. The rig was not currently producing oil. Its shares fell 57 cents to $22.78.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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