The S&P 500 was up 0.43%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.37%, and the Nasdaq grew 0.6%. If the S&P 500 closes higher Thursday, it would mark its sixth straight day of gains. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq touched intraday records.
Best Buy surged 18%, trading at its highest level since November 2006, after the electronics retailer posted unexpected growth in same-store sales over its recent quarter. Adjusted earnings increased to 60 cents from 43 cents a share and blew past consensus of 40 cents. Revenue also beat estimates. Same-store sales rose 1.6%, surprising analysts looking for a decrease of 1.3%. CEO Hubert Joly said the positive performance was tied to "strong performance in gaming, a better-than-expected result in mobile, and the improvement of overall sales trends due to the arrival of delayed federal tax refund checks."
Nasdaq component Sears rocketed more than 25% higher after reporting its first GAAP profit since its second quarter of last year. CEO Eddie Lampert said the quarter was challenging, though "demonstrated our commitment to return... to solid financial footing." Investors overlooked a wider adjusted loss and a 12.4% drop in same-store sales, its 11th straight quarter of declines.
Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF - Get Report) also boosted the consumer sector, climbing 8% on Thursday after exceeding sales estimates. A loss of 91 cents a share widened from a loss of 59 cents in the year-ago quarter. Analysts anticipated a narrower loss of 70 cents a share. Sales of $661.1 million came in higher than a target of $651.5 million. Same-store sales declined by 3%, slightly narrower than an anticipated drop of 3.1%. Abercrombie shares spiked on Wednesday on reports of takeover interest from Cerberus and American Eagle (AEO - Get Report) .
Gains on Wall Street went from negligible to modest on Wednesday after Federal Reserve minutes showed a central bank comfortable with moving rates higher again. The Fed's willingness to hike rates is seen as a vote of confidence in the health of the U.S. economy. The S&P 500 rose for its fifth session in a row on Wednesday, a streak not seen since mid-February, and ended at a new record close.
The global economy is stronger and its outlook "brighter" than it has been in years, Fed Governor Lael Brainard said during a panel discussion in Washington Thursday. Brainard also said U.S. economic risks have retreated due to strength in the global economy.
Crude oil prices recovered from session lows, though remained under pressure after Saudi Arabia dismissed the likelihood of further cuts to production. Saudi Arabia Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Thursday that deeper cuts to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' current deal were not necessary at this time. He also said that a nine-month extension to OPEC's current production cut agreement was "highly likely" as members meet in Vienna Thursday.
Investors had widely accepted an extension to the current deal and had hoped for further action to balance global oil markets.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down 0.5% to $51.13 a barrel on Thursday morning.
U.S. weekly jobless claims rose in the past week, though held around multi-year lows. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits increased by 1,000 to 234,000. The less-volatile, four-week claims average fell by 5,750 to 235,250. The monthly average hit its lowest level since April 1973.
The U.S. trade deficit in goods expanded by 3.8% in April to $67.6 billion. Advanced U.S. retail inventories declined by 0.3%, while wholesale inventories dropped 0.3%.
The latest plan from the House of Representatives to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would increase the number of people without health coverage by 14 million from today's coverage level in 2018, and by 23 million by 2026, according to estimates released by Capitol Hill budget and tax analysts Wednesday. The plan would cut the deficit by $119 billion through 2026. The numbers from the Congressional Budget Office refer to the ACA repeal and replace bill passed by the House along party lines on May 4.
The biggest beneficiaries among public companies are likely to be the largest health insurers, including Anthem (ANTM - Get Report) , UnitedHealth (UNH - Get Report) , Cigna (CI - Get Report) and Humana (HUM - Get Report) .
Dollar Tree (DLTR - Get Report) rose 3% after meeting analysts' estimates on its top- and bottom-line over its recent quarter. Adjusted earnings of 98 cents a share on revenue of $5.29 billion came in as analysts expected. Second-quarter sales guidance of $5.18 billion to $5.28 billion wrapped consensus of $5.24 billion.
Other earnings of note include Williams-Sonoma (WSM - Get Report) , PVH (PVH - Get Report) , Guess? (GES - Get Report) , Signet Jewelers (SIG - Get Report) , Hormel Foods (HRL - Get Report) , and Burlington Stores (BURL - Get Report) .
Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) rose 3.5% to trade at a record high after a bullish note from PiperJaffray analysts. The firm said current estimates for the streaming service's international profitability looks conservative. "We believe that, by 2020, there is potential for market penetration higher than current estimates," analysts wrote in a note.
Netflix should watch out for Facebook as it drops clues it wants to launch its own video on demand service, argues Brian Sozzi over on our premium site for investors, Real Money. Get his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
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