Stocks in New York were modestly higher out of the gate Thursday after a fresh and not-so-terrible set of economic data and a mixed slate of earnings.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

was recently rising 47 points to 7603, and the

S&P 500

was up 7 points at 795. The


was higher by 14 points at 1482.

Investors had plenty of data to sort through, including numbers on the job market. The Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims were unchanged for the week ended Feb. 14 at 627,000, a bit higher than expectations for 620,000.

The producer price index, which measures average change in the selling prices received by domestic producers for their output, rose 0.8% in January after falling 1.9% the month prior and outpaced expectations for an 0.3% increase. Core prices, which factor out food and energy costs, rose 0.4% also exceeding a 0.2% uptick the month prior and expectations for 0.1%.

Leading indicators and the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey will be released later in the morning.

On Wednesday President Obama fleshed out a plan to spend up to $275 billion, including up to $200 billion of added investments in mortgage giants

Fannie Mae



Freddie Mac


, to help the housing market.

The Homeowner Affordability and Stability plan, he said, aims to help currently ineligible Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage participants refinance at lower rates, create incentives so that lenders modify the terms of at-risk subprime loans, and takes "major steps" to keep rates low for new mortgages.

But critics

kept the lid on the enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, quarterly reports continue to show consumers tightening their budgets for tough times.


(HPQ) - Get Report

saw its first-quarter profit recede 13%, and the tech bellwether's revenue missed Wall Street's estimate.


Sprint Nextel

(S) - Get Report

managed to post a smaller-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter, despite parting with 4.5 million customers in 2008.

Chinese internet company


(BIDU) - Get Report

said its fourth-quarter profit rose by nearly one-third, missing estimates by a mere penny.


CVS Caremark

(CVS) - Get Report

topped revenue estimates and said its fourth-quarter profit increased by 10 cents a share year over year to 65 cents.

Newmont Mining

(NEM) - Get Report


reported a profit

, earning $10 million, or 2 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, after a year-ago loss on a large writedown.

Away from stocks, the dollar was strengthening against the yen but was weaker against the pound and euro. Longer-dated Treasuries were falling. The 10-year note was recently down 25/32, yielding 2.9%, while the 30-year was giving up 1-24/32, yielding 3.7%.

In commodities, oil was rising $1.06 to $35.68 a barrel, and gold was falling 30 cents to $977.90 an ounce.

Stocks overseas were mixed. In Europe, the FTSE in London and DAX in Frankfurt were off by less than 1%. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei gave up 1.5%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.6%.