Skip to main content

Updated from 4:02 p.m. EST

Stocks managed small gains Thursday, amid lower oil prices and mixed economic news, as investors appeared intent on advancing the postelection rally, which is now in its third week.



closed 22.98 points, or 0.2%, higher at 10,572.55; the

S&P 500

was up 1.61 points, or 0.1%, to 1183.55, just shy of its three-year high set last week; while the


added 4.60 points, or 0.2%, to 2104.28, its first close above 2100 since late January and a new 10-month high.

The Dow's strength was partly a result of a 2.2% jump in


(MO) - Get Altria Group Inc Report

, which was upgraded by two brokerage firms based on optimism about exposure to smokers' lawsuits. Shares rose $1.29 to $58.41 in more than thrice their average daily volume of 6.7 million shares.

Volume slowed from Wednesday's levels. About 1.91 billion shares turned over on the Nasdaq, where decliners outpaced advancers by an 8-to-7 margin. On the


more than 1.46 billion shares changed hands with declining stocks and advancing ones virtually even.

Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends

In other markets, the 10-year Treasury note was gained 4/32 in price, erasing an early loss, to yield 4.11%, while the dollar was lower against the yen and on the cusp of another record low against the euro.

Oil prices fell, after Wednesday's jump. The December crude contract closed 62 cents lower at $46.22, despite supply concerns borne of a smaller-than-expected build in heating oil stocks announced by the Energy Department Wednesday.

On the economic front, the index of leading economic indictors fell 0.3 in October, the fifth straight decline in what is seen as a key barometer of future economic activity. In addition, first-time claims for unemployment benefits were 334,000 last week, about 1,000 more than expected.

In corporate news,

Applied Materials'

(AMAT) - Get Applied Materials, Inc. Report

fell despite saying fourth-quarter earnings soared to $455 million, or 27 cents a share, from $15.4 million, or 1 cent a share, a year ago. Although the profit beat estimates, the chip-equipment maker disappointed Wall Street by forecasting a 35% sequential decline in first-quarter orders.

Applied Materials put first-quarter earnings at 15 cents or 16 cents a share and said revenue will slide 20% to 23% from the fourth quarter to as low as $1.7 billion. Analysts had been forecasting earnings of 23 cents a share on revenue of $2.16 billion. The stock gained 31 cents, 1.8%, to $17.65.



posted third-quarter earnings of $78.3 million, or 16 cents a share, compared with $129.7 million, or 25 cents a share, last year. Adjusted earnings of 10 cents a share matched estimates and the company said fourth-quarter earnings should be in line with estimates at 85 cents to 92 cents a share. Shares fell 4 cents to $27.06.

Shares of


(GOOG) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class C Report

saw heavy volume Thursday after the company repeated a warning about the pace of its revenue growth. In a filing, Google said sequential top-line growth in its fourth quarter won't match the 15% it put up in the third. The language looked similar to warning Google issued on Monday. Nevertheless, the stock fell $4.96, or 2.9%, to $167.54.

Yahoo! was also off, adding 24 cents, or 0.6%, to $37.19.


(NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. Report

gained after the DVD-by-mail purveyor last night boosted its fourth-quarter subscriber goal by 150,000 to 2.25 million. The higher volume could actually pressure the firm's profitability given Netflix' fixed-fee model, but investors didn't care and bid up the stock $1.46, or 14%, to $11.92.

Overseas markets closed mixed, with London's FTSE 100 recently up 0.2% to 4805 and Germany's Xetra DAX down 0.1% to 4179. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.4% overnight to 11,082, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.2% to 13,800.