Wall Street Edges Ahead - TheStreet

Wall Street Edges Ahead

Traders await the jobs report and the start of earnings season.
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Updated from 4:29 p.m. EDT

Stocks rose modestly in the final session of a holiday-shortened week, giving Wall Street four consecutive wins to start the second quarter.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

finished up 30.15 points, or 0.24%, at 12,560.20 Thursday, and the

S&P 500

added 4.39 points, or 0.3%, at 1443.76. The

Nasdaq

was better by 12.65 points, or 0.51%, to 2471.34.

About 2.39 billion shares changed hands on the

New York Stock Exchange

, with advancers beating decliners by a 5-to-3 margin. Volume on the Nasdaq reached 1.60 billion shares, and winners outpaced losers 8 to 7.

For the week, the Dow jumped 1.7%, the S&P 500 was up 1.6%, and the Nasdaq climbed 2.1%.

During the prior session, the industrials were up 19.75 points to 12,530.05, and the Nasdaq tacked on 8.36 to 2458.69. The slight advance came after Iran decided to free 15 British sailors and marines it captured last month in the Persian Gulf.

"Investors were worried about holding stock over the long weekend with the sailors being held captive," said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist with Cantor Fitzgerald. "With that fear gone, so too was the selling pressure."

The latest jobs report is on tap Friday, when the market is closed for the Good Friday holiday. Economists believe 120,000 workers joined payrolls in March, while the jobless rate probably edged up to 4.6% from 4.5% in February.

To view Farnoosh Torabi's video take on today's market, click here

The report is one of the key indicators of the health of the economy every month, but since New York's markets will be shut, investors will have the weekend to ponder what the data could mean for the

Federal Reserve's

policy going forward.

Art Hogan, chief market analyst with Jefferies, said there's no downside to the number being stronger than expectations.

"No one can say the economy is going too fast," he said. "Instead, we should care about the pace of the economy right now. The only problematic number would be if it were slower, as that would directly impact earnings."

Meanwhile, a day ahead of the payroll figures, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose by 11,000 last week to 321,000. The less volatile four-week moving average declined by 1,500 to 315,750.

Treasury prices lost ground following the release. The 10-year note was down 6/32 in price to yield 4.68%. The 30-year bond was off 14/32, yielding 4.87%.

On April 10, Dow component

Alcoa

(AA) - Get Report

will post its results for the last three months. The aluminum giant's report is often viewed as marking the beginning of earnings season, even though a number of companies, particularly those whose fiscal year doesn't conform to the calendar year, have already released their numbers.

Commodity prices continued the previous session's decline. Oil was down 10 cents to close at $64.28 a barrel, bringing it lower by 2.4% for the week. Gold futures added $2 to $679.40 an ounce.

As for the corporate side, shares of

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

popped after

The Wall Street Journal

reported that billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda investment company will offer $4.5 billion to purchase the Chrysler brand.

After spending the morning hovering around the unchanged mark, shares of DaimlerChryler closed with a gain of $4.24, or 5.3%, to $84.80.

Elsewhere,

WebMethods

(WEBM)

is set to be acquired by Software AG for $9.15 a share, or $546 million, and

Constellation Brands

(STZ) - Get Report

posted quarterly results that topped analysts' estimates.

WebMethods soared 27.2% to $9.26, and Constellation Brands finished higher by 3.2% at $21.49.

Restaurant operator

Wendy's

(WEN) - Get Report

said first-quarter U.S. same-store sales rose 3.8%. The stock was down 2 cents, or 0.1%, to $31.74.

Tweeter

(TWTR) - Get Report

guided expectations lower, and Deutsche Bank upgraded shares of three foreign carriers,

Ryanair

(RYAAY) - Get Report

,

British Airways

(BAB) - Get Report

and

Air France

(AKH)

.

Tweeter dipped 0.7% to $1.42. Ryanair rose 0.7% to $45.88. British Airways tacked on 0.3% to $100.99. Air France finished up 3.7% at $48.70.

Overnight in Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 eased 0.3% at 17,491. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was closed for a holiday. Europe's bourses were mostly higher, with London's FTSE 100 up 0.5% at 6397 and Frankfurt's Xetra DAX adding 0.4% at 7100.