Stocks Opened Higher on Corporate Earnings

U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, amid better-than-estimated earnings at companies from International Business Machines Corp. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 34.89 points, or 0.27%, to 12,943.59. The S&P 500 index climbed 4.73 points, or 0.34%, to 1,377.51. The Nasdaq Composite gained 23.86 points, or 0.81%, to 2,966.46.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) raised its full year 2012 guidance due to strong quarterly performance. Its second quarter earnings exceeded Street’s expectations.For the full year 2012, the company lifted its earnings per share (EPS) guidance to at least $14.40 from previous forecast of at least $14.27, and its operating EPS outlook to at least $15.10 from prior estimate of at least $15.00, while Street analysts predict $15.06.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rebounded last week, returning to levels consistent with only modest job growth after a seasonal quirk caused a sharp drop the prior period. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 34,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims had dropped by 24,000 in the prior week and a combined 36,000 over the previous two weeks.

The International Monetary Fund approved changes to its annual economic surveillance rules on Wednesday that now make it mandatory for the Fund to assess whether the domestic policies of a country are affecting global financial stability.

Verizon Communications Inc posted higher quarterly revenue on Thursday and added more new subscribers than Wall Street had expected as the company probably drew customers from its smaller rivals. The company’s Verizon Wireless venture with Vodafone Group Plc added 888,000 net new subscribers in the quarter, compared with the average expectation of about 666,000 from seven analysts.

Morgan Stanley swung to a profit in the second quarter, though revenue declined 24 percent due to a slowdown in trading and dealmaking. The investment bank reported earnings of $564 million, or 29 cents per share, compared with a loss of $558 million, or 38 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Travelers Cos Inc (TRV) reported a second-quarter profit on Thursday but missed Wall Street expectations, as the insurer’s catastrophe losses fell from a year ago but were still higher than historical norms. Travelers reported a net profit of $499 million, or $1.26 per share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $364 million, or 88 cents per share. On an operating basis, Travelers earned $1.26 a share.

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