Stocks Ended Higher on Economic Data

U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, boosted by positive economic data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 66.19 points, or 0.44%, to 14,963.74. The S&P 500 rose 14.16 points, or 0.86%, to 1,656.96. The Nasdaq Composite rose 38.92 points, or 1.08%, to 3,638.71.

Gap (GPS) raised its earnings per share outlook for the year on Thursday, after its summer lineup helped boost second- quarter results and advanced its turnaround push. The company earned $303 million, or 64 cents per share, which was on the high-end of its latest guidance of 62 cents to 64 cents per share. Revenue rose 8 percent to $3.87 billion.

Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE:P) on Thursday reported a fiscal second-quarter loss of $7.6 million, or 4 cents a share, on revenue of $157.4 million. Pandora said its results were led by a 92% increase in mobile revenue, which rose to $116 million from last year’s second quarter.

Hormel Foods Corp. (HRL: Quote) reported that its third-quarter net earnings attributable to the company increased to $113.63 million or $0.42 per share, from $111.17 million or $0.41 per share in the same quarter last year. Net sales for the quarter rose to $2.16 billion from $2.01 billion in the prior year quarter.

Semtech Corporation (NASDAQ:SMTC) reported unaudited financial results for its fiscal year 2014 second quarter, which ended July 28, 2013. The company also announced that its Board of Directors approved increasing the existing stock repurchase authorization by $50.0 million. Net revenue for the second quarter of fiscal year 2014 was $165.0 million, up 9.5 percent from the second quarter of fiscal year 2013 and up 1.6 percent from the first quarter of fiscal year 2014.

Carl Icahn has spoken again with Apple Inc’s Tim Cook and plans a longer discussion with the chief executive over dinner next month about the size of the iPhone maker’s buyback program, the activist investor tweeted on Thursday.

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