Updated from 4:16 p.m. EST
Stocks turned in a strong performance for a second consecutive session Thursday as solid profit reports from the technology sector and
upbeat comments from
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan sparked buying interest on Wall Street.
Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 66 points, or 0.7%, to 9797. The
Nasdaq gained 20 points, or 1.1%, to 1943, and the
S&P 500 added 4 points to 1132.
Greenspan told a congressional committee that he sees signs the economy is turning a corner. "There have been signs recently that some of the forces that have been restraining the economy over the past year are starting to diminish and that activity is beginning to firm," Greenspan told the Senate Budget Committee.
Earlier, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell 15,000 to 376,000 in the week ended Jan. 19 from a revised 391,000 the previous week. Economists were expecting the number of first-time claims to climb to 395,000.
Corporate news, mainly earnings, continued to keep investors busy.
posted fourth-quarter earnings of 21 cents a share, beating analysts' expectations by 3 cents. The company said it gained significant market share on the strength of its mobile handset business and minimized the impact of a challenging environment in its network business. The shares ended the session up $1.09, or 4.9%, at $23.30.
RF Micro Devices
, a maker of circuits for mobile telephones and other wireless systems, benefited from the positive news, jumping $1.40, or 8%, to $18.95.
easily beat analysts' forecasts for the fourth quarter, posting a loss of $70 million, or 3 cents a share. Analysts were looking for a loss of 7 cents a share. The stock closed up $2.27, or 15.6%, to $16.83.
bolstered hopes for a turnaround in the technology sector when it exceeded fourth-quarter earnings expectations after the close Wednesday. The software company said it recorded earnings of $65.9 million, or 13 cents a share, well ahead of the consensus estimate of 9 cents a share. The company's shares rose $2.09, or 6%, to $36.89.
, gained 83 cents, or 11.5%, to $8.07 ahead of its earnings release.
had a difficult fourth quarter as sales in the company's photography business fell 8%. The company cited the lingering effects of Sept. 11, pricing pressures, and the overall economic slowdown. Excluding charges totaling $262 million, or 90 cents a share, fourth-quarter earnings came in at $36 million, or 12 cents a share. Kodak's shares climbed $1.74, or 6.6%, to $28.24.
warned that its fiscal 2002 results would fall short of analysts' forecasts, sending shares of the genetic research firm down $8.54, or 25.3%, to $25.20.
Meanwhile, the chairman and chief executive of
, Kenneth Lay, resigned from the bankrupt energy trading firm as federal investigators continue their probe of the company's accounting practices.
rose 24 cents, or 2.9%, to $8.56 a day after the company said it lost 28 cents a share on revenue of $974 million. Analysts were calling for a loss of 25 cents a share on $984 million in revenue, according to research firm Thomson Financial/First Call.
was lower by 88 cents, or 1.5%, to $57.58. After the close Wednesday, the biotech company posted a fourth-quarter profit of 30 cents a share, a penny shy of Wall Street estimates. But revenue for the quarter came in at $1.12 billion, an 18% increase from the year-ago quarter. The earnings shortfall was the result of a one-time charge of $243 million related to the termination of partnerships with other drug companies.
was downgraded by several brokerages this morning, sending the stock lower by $2.53, or 12.5%, to $17.78.
Foreign markets were mostly higher, with London's FTSE 100 gaining 1% to 5233 and Germany's Xetra Dax advancing 0.1% to 5170. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed up 0.3% to 10,074 led by automaker and semiconductor shares, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.2% to 10,741.
Treasuries were primarily lower. The 10-year note was recently gaining 2/32 to 99 28/32, yielding 5.02%.