Stocks Bounce Back on Earnings, Jobs Data - TheStreet

Stocks Bounce Back on Earnings, Jobs Data

After two negative days, the market is on the rebound. All three major indices are ticking higher as investors see some relief in commodities.
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Updated from 9:45 a.m. EDT

Wall Street was rising Thursday as traders digested a fresh set of mixed earnings reports and a better-than-expected weekly jobless claims report following a huge selloff over the prior couple of sessions.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 32 points to 12,633, and the

S&P 500

gained 4 points to 1395. The

Nasdaq Composite

tacked on 13 points to 2461.

The action came on the heels of a two-day tumble for stocks that robbed the Dow of roughly 430 points, with the

most recent plummet

having been sparked by red-hot oil futures and sobering economic predictions by the

Federal Reserve

.

Before the new session's opening bell, Labor Department announced a sharp decline in the number of workers applying for unemployment benefits. Jobless claims in the week ended May 17 totaled 365,000, down 9,000 from the prior week and 8,000 lower than expected.

Also, investors were finding a bit of relief in commodities, which were at least briefly taking a break from their unremitting run-up over the past few weeks. Crude oil easily got past another round number this morning -- $135 a barrel -- but later retreated to a 93-cent loss at $132.24. Gold futures were down $8.60 to $920 an ounce.

At the same time, the U.S. dollar took back some of its recent losses, adding 0.4% against the euro to $1.5712 and firming by 0.8% against the yen at 103.95.

On the corporate side, Swiss bank

UBS

(UBS) - Get Report

priced a $15.5 billion rights issue 31% below its last closing price on the Zurich exchange, but shares were still picking up 2.3% on the

New York Stock Exchange

.

Automaker

Ford

(F) - Get Report

, meanwhile, said it would

slash overall production

for the rest of the year, impacting its earlier forecast of returning to the black in 2009, as it particularly cuts back on gas-guzzling SUVs and large trucks. Instead, the company will focus on smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles as consumer demand shifts "quickly" in that direction. Shares were off 6.7%.

Separately, wholesale power-generation outfit

NRG Energy

(NRG) - Get Report

proposed an unsolicited takeout bid of $11 billion for rival

Calpine

(CPN)

, which earlier this year dug itself out of bankruptcy. Shares of NRG slumped 4.2% as Calpine jumped 6.8%.

In earnings,

GameStop

(GME) - Get Report

shares tumbled 10.5%, even though the video-game retailer bumped up its full-year guidance and topped analyst targets for the most recent quarter with more-than-doubled earnings of $62.1 million, or 37 cents a share.

Fellow retailer

Limited Brands

(LTD)

, however, climbed 4.6% after nearly doubling its fiscal first-quarter profit with help from the sale of a joint venture. Adjusted earnings for the company, which operates the Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works retail chains, came in ahead of the average Wall Street estimate.

Among other positive retail earnings reports,

PetSmart

(PETM)

beat on both top and bottom lines for the fiscal first quarter, even as it guided under current-quarter projections. Jewelry purveyor

Zale

(ZLC)

widened its quarterly loss, but the results were in line. Shares were up 2.9% and 10.1%, respectively.

On the other hand, bookseller

Barnes & Noble

(BKS) - Get Report

cut its full-year guidance for same-store sales, or those for stores that have been open a year or more, to "slightly negative" from "slightly positive" even as it maintained its 2008 profit outlook. The company also widened its loss by a penny to 4 cents a share, though it was in line with expectations. The stock was off slightly at $29.88.

Dick's Sporting Goods

(DKS) - Get Report

slid 17.97% after coming in a penny short of per-share expectations for the fiscal first quarter, and women's-apparel seller

AnnTaylor

(ANN)

reaffirmed its full-year outlook, which dips below the analyst consensus. Its shares lost 1.3%.

Treasury prices were plunging. The 10-year note was down 28/32 in price to yield 3.91%, and the 30-year bond sank 1-13/32 in price, yielding 4.63%.

Markets abroad were mixed. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.4% overnight, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index sank 1.6%. In Europe, the FTSE 100 tacked on 0.2%, and Germany's Xetra Dax climbed 0.4%. The Paris Cac was up marginally.