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The Markets Now: Stocks Remain Higher After Jobless Claims Report

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Plus, tech stocks hurt by PC shipment sales report.

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Stocks rallied for another day after unemployment claims dropped more than expected from last week. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) increased 0.57% to 14,886.08. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) climbed 8.53% to 1,596.26, and the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) rose 0.17% to 3,302.92.

The US Department of Labor reported today that initial unemployment claims decreased 42,000 to 346,000 for the week ending April 6. The four-week average increased 3,000 to 358,000. The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected claims to drop to 360,000. Continuing claims for the week ending March 30 decreased 12,000 to 3,079,000, and the four-week moving average increased 5,250 to 3,079,250. Read the full report here.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the import price index decreased 0.5% month-over-month in March and the export price index fell 0.4% month-over-month in March. Read the full report here.

Bloomberg reported today that its Consumer Comfort Index ticked up by 0.1 to -34 for the week of April 7. The index has held in a 0.5 range since falling below 31.6 on March 10. Read the full report here.

The Energy Information Administration reported that natural gas storage fell by 14 billion cubic feet, less than the expected 22 billion cubic feet, to 1,637 billion cubic feet.

The US Treasury announced that it will auction $35 billion worth of 3-month Treasury bills and $30 billion worth of 6-month Treasury bills on April 15. The Treasury also announced that it will auction $18 billion worth of 5-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities. The 30-year bond auction is being held at 1 p.m. EST today.

The Federal Reserve Board of Governors will report on its balance sheet and money supply at 4:30 p.m. EDT today.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) dropped 4.85% to $28.81. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) analyst Heather Bellini downgraded her rating on Microsoft from neutral to sell after the International Data Corporation, or IDC, reported that global PC shipments fell 14% in the first quarter of 2013. Analysts at Nomura (NYSE:NMR) and Hilliard Lyons also downgraded the stock. Microsoft announced today that it will develop a new 7-inch version of the Surface tablet.

(See also: Time Out! If You Didn't Know PC Sales Were Horrible, Then You Haven't Been Paying Attention)

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) fell 2.83% to $21.63, ending its 2-day climb.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) plunged 6.65% to $20.83 after the release of the IDC report.

Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) increased 3.57% to $84.26. Institutional Shareholder Services stated that shareholders should not re-elect Executive Chairman Ray Irani and director Aziz Syriani since their search for a new CEO was unsuccessful. The company announced in February that it will look for a CEO to replace current CEO Stephen Chazen.

Ford (NYSE:F) rose 2.67% to $13.47. The company announced that it and Ford Sollers, a joint venture partner, has built the first full-production Ford Explorer in Russia. This marks the first time the Ford Explorer has been built entirely outside the US.

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
The author has a position in Intel, Microsoft, and Occidental Petroleum.
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