Stocks Rise as Global Stimulus Outweighs Unemployment Concerns

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks rose Thursday as signs of a fragile labor market were overshadowed by Japan's bold moves to stimulate its sluggish economy and signals that European policymakers may take similar steps.

The S&P 500 gained 0.4% to 1,559.98 by the close of trading led by Best Buy ( BBY), which advanced on a partnership with Samsung Electronics. Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) announced Thursday after the closing bell that Chairman Ray Lane is stepping down from the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company. Shares of the company in after-hours trades were drifting lower by 0.1% to $22.28.

Best Buy surged 16.1% to $25.13, the most in almost three months, as the electronics retailer and Samsung announced that kiosks, or "experience shops," featuring Samsung mobile products, would be installed in more than 1,400 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores in the U.S. beginning this month.

"This proves the Best Buy model continues to be highly relevant to consumer electronic manufacturers," said Anthony Chukumba, a senior research analyst at BB&T Capital Markets, in a phone interview.

Chukumba said the Samsung-Best Buy partnership may lead to better-trained Best Buy employees while attracting some of Samsung's own employees to Best Buy locations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.38% to 14,606.11 while the Nasdaq was climbing 0.2% to 3,224.98. Apple ( AAPL) fell 0.99% to $427.72. Facebook ( FB) popped 3.1% to $27.06 after the social networking company announced "Home," a cover for Android devices to make phones more about humans.

The number of U.S. residents filing for unemployment benefits rose 28,000 to a four-month high of 385,000 in the week ended Mar. 30, the Labor Department said. Economists were expecting the number of filings to fall to 350,000. The number of people continuing to collect jobless benefits fell by 8,000 in the week ended Mar. 23.

Outplacement firm Challenger, Grey & Christmas said planned corporate job cuts fell 11% in March while quarterly job cuts reached their highest level since 2011 led by retailers in March.

The DAX in Germany touched negative territory after the U.S. jobless claims report but was rebounding. The European Central Bank chose to keep its benchmark interest rates unchanged at record lows, and ECB President Mario Draghi said policy will stay accommodative for as long as needed.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan finished ahead by 2.2% after the Bank of Japan announced aggressive monetary easing, increasing its Japanese government bond purchases to about 7 trillion yen each month from the current pace of approximately 4 trillion yen a month.

Shares of Teradata ( TDC) were the worst performer on the S&P after Morgan Stanley ( MS) analyst Katy Huberty cut the company's 2013 revenue and earnings estimates. Shares of the company sank 7.5% to $51.89.

CenturyLink ( CTL) rose 2.7% to $36.02 after the Monroe, Louisiana-based Internet provider was upgraded to overweight from neutral by JPMorgan analyst Philip Cusick. The analyst said the company should be able to sustain its 6.2% dividend yield, which has been more attractive than Verizon's ( VZ) 4.2% and AT&T's ( T) 4.8% yields.

Microsoft ( MSFT) shares rose 0.14% to $28.60, despite Bank of America's decision to cut its view on the stock for the first time since 2008. Bank of America, analyst Kash Ragan said in a note that "six months post launch, despite more available touch-based devices, Windows 8 lacks momentum," dampening his optimism for Microsoft shares.

The dollar was slipping 0.08% to $82.68 according to the U.S. dollar index as the benchmark 10-year Treasury increased 15/32, diluting the yield to 1.764%.

May crude oil futures lost $1.19 to settle at $93.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York

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