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Market Hustle: Stocks Higher as Upbeat Apple Result Bolsters Sentiment

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. markets moved higher in a volatile session Thursday, as upbeat earnings from Apple (AAPL) and General Motors (GM) offset disappointments from bellwethers such as 3M (MMM).

Russia launched border military exercises after Ukrainian forces killed pro-Russian militants outside the eastern city of Slovyansk.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average was rising 0.11% to 16,520.58 while the S&P 500 was 0.35% higher to 1,881.88. The Nasdaq was gaining 0.73% to 4,157.04.
  • The March headline number for durable goods orders rose more than expected, up 2.6% vs. the average estimate of 2%. Jobless claims for the week of April 19 increased by 24,000 to a more-than-expected 329,000 from upwardly revised prior week levels. The four-week moving average edged up by 4,750 to 316,750.
  • Apple shares were popping more than 8% after the tech behemoth posted fiscal second-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street estimates, and announced a 7-for-1 stock split. Facebook was adding on 1.38% after the social media giant reported first-quarter earnings and revenue that topped expectations as advertising revenue grew more than expected.
  • Thursday is heavy on corporate earnings announcements, with Amazon (AMZN) and Microsoft (MSFT) being among companies set to report after the closing bell. Amazon is expected to post first-quarter earnings of 23 cents a share on revenue of $19.43 billion. Microsoft is expected to report fiscal third-quarter earnings of 63 cents per share on revenue of $20.39 billion.
  • General Motors was off 1.08% after producing first-quarter earnings per share that topped estimates by 2 cents at 6 cents. Caterpillar was advancing 1.84% after posting quarterly earnings that exceeded expectations by 20 cents at $1.44 a share. Verizon (VZ) was off 2.64% as quarterly revenue beat estimates; earnings per share were 3 cents below expectations at 84 cents. 3M (MMM) fell 1.04% after the office-product supplier reported first-quarter earnings that were below analysts' estimates. General Electric (GE) was up 0.55% following a Bloomberg report that the company is in talks to buy Alstom, the French builder of trains and power plants.
  • International markets were mixed on Thursday. The Hang Seng closed up 0.24% while the Nikkei slipped 0.97%. Germany's DAX gained 0.05% while the U.K. FTSE was added 0.42%.
  • Major U.S. stock markets slipped Wednesday amid tepid Chinese economic data and a 14.5% month-over-month drop in U.S. new-home sales.

-- By Jane Searle and Andrea Tse in New York

Stock quotes in this article: DJI, ^GSPC, GE, ^IXIC, AAPL, FB, CAT, GM, CAT, GM, AMZN, MSFT, VZ, GE, MMM 

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