Stocks Opened Higher After Data

U.S. stocks opened with sizeable gains on Thursday after data showed durable goods orders rose more than expected in June and new claims for jobless benefits fell last week to a near four-year low. The Dow Jones industrial average lately gained 205.63 points, or 1.62 percent, to 12,881.68. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 20.15 points, or 1.51 percent, to 1,358.04. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 46.11 points, or 1.62 percent, to 2,900.35.

Stronger orders for airplanes and defense equipment translated into a better-than-expected 1.6% increase in durable-goods orders in June, the Commerce Department estimated Thursday. Shipments of overall durable goods rose 0.1% in June, the sixth gain in the past seven months. Inventories of durable goods rose 0.3% to record high levels.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits dropped by 35,000 last week. The Labor Department said Thursday that applications fell to a seasonally adjusted 353,000. That’s down from a revised 388,000 the previous week and the biggest drop since February 2010.

Hershey Co. lifted its profit outlook for the year Thursday after raising prices had boosted second-quarter net income 4 percent. For the period ended July 1, Hershey earned $135.7 million, or 59 cents per share. A year earlier profit was $130 million, or 56 cents per share.

Exxon Mobil Corp, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, posted lower-than-expected quarterly earnings on Thursday as oil and gas output declined and its chemicals business struggled. The company reported a second-quarter profit of $15.9 billion, or $3.41 per share, up from $10.68 billion, or $2.18 per share, a year earlier.

3M Co., the iconic maker of Post-Its and Scotch Tape, said Thursday it managed a slim increase in second-quarter earnings as cost-cutting offset a revenue shortfall. The company posted net income of $1.17 billion, or $1.66 per share, compared with $1.16 billion, or $1.60 per share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 2 percent to $7.53 billion.






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