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Stocks Move Mostly Higher In Reaction To Earnings News

Stocks have moved mostly higher in morning trading on Thursday following the mixed performance seen in the previous session. The major averages have all moved to the upside, with the Dow rebounding from its lowest closing level in two months.

Currently, the major averages are hovering in positive territory. The Dow is up 75.56 points or 0.4 percent at 20,480.05, the Nasdaq is up 20.77 points or 0.4 percent at 5,883.80 and the S&P 500 is up 6.43 points or 0.3 percent at 2,344.60.

The strength on Wall Street partly reflects a positive reaction to the latest batch of earnings news, with the Dow benefiting from a sharp jump by shares of American Express (AXP).

American Express is currently spiking by 4.1 percent after the credit card giant reported better than expected first quarter results.

Regional bank KeyCorp (KEY) is also posting a strong gain after reporting first quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates.

On the other hand, shares of eBay (EBAY) have come under pressure after the ecommerce giant reported better than expected first quarter results but provided disappointing guidance for the current quarter.

Verizon (VZ) has also moved to the downside after the telecom giant reported first quarter earnings and revenues that came in below expectations.

In economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing a slightly bigger than expected increase in initial jobless claims in the week ended April 15th.

The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 244,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 234,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 242,000.

A separate report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed a notable slowdown in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity in the month of April.

The Philly Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity in the region fell to 22.0 in April from 32.8 in March, although a positive reading indicates continued growth. Economists had expected the index to drop to 25.5.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board released a report showing a bigger than expected increase by its index of leading economic indicators in the month of March.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index rose by 0.4 percent in March after climbing by a revised 0.5 percent in February. Economists had expected the index to edge up by 0.2 percent.

Railroad stocks have moved sharply higher in morning trading, driving the Dow Jones Railroads Index up by 3 percent. With the jump, the index has reached its best intraday level in over a month.

CSX Corp. (CSX) is leading the railroad sector higher, surging up by 6.8 percent after reporting better than expected first quarter results.

Significant strength is also visible among steel stocks, as reflected by the 1.8 percent advance by the NYSE Arca Steel Index. The index is bouncing off its lowest closing level in five months.

Financial and energy stocks are also seeing some strength on the day, while utilities stocks have shown…

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