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U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Standard & Poor’s Index higher for a third straight day, as Bank of America Corp. rallied after swinging to a profit and jobless claims plunged to the lowest level in almost four years.
Besides earnings optimism, stocks rose today as fewer Americans than forecast filed first-time applications for unemployment benefits last week, easing concern that post- holiday firings were on the rise. Equities briefly erased gains as the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index rose to 7.3 from 6.8 in December, trailing the median forecast for a reading of 10.3.
Dow 12,598.55 +19.60 +0.16%, Nasdaq 2,790.06 +20.35 +0.73%, S&P 500 1,313.44 +5.40 +0.41%
Bank of America (ВАС) rallied 3.5 percent, the most in the Dow, to $7.04. Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan is cutting assets, expenses and staff while raising capital to meet demands from regulators for a larger cushion against unexpected losses. So far, $50 billion in holdings are gone, and Moynihan’s Project New BAC will eliminate at least 30,000 jobs as the firm seeks to save $5 billion annually.
Morgan Stanley climbed 4.2 percent to $18.08. Morgan Stanley posted the only increase in trading revenue excluding accounting gains among the five largest Wall Street banks in 2011, making progress toward Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Gorman’s goal of boosting market share.
EBay Inc. jumped 4.1 percent to $31.59. The largest Internet marketplace reported sales and profit that topped analysts’ estimates, buoyed by a campaign to promote its expanded retail offerings and broader use of the PayPal online- payments service.
Johnson Controls Inc. plunged 8 percent to $32.75. The largest U.S. auto supplier lowered its forecast for profit for the fiscal year on weakening demand for replacement batteries and a reduced outlook for vehicle assembly in Europe.
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