Stocks moved mostly higher during the trading day on Thursday, extending the upward move seen over the course of the two previous sessions. With the continued advance, the major averages have largely offset the steep drop seen on Monday.
The major averages gave back some ground in afternoon trading but remained firmly positive. The Dow climbed 214.66 points or 0.8 percent to 25,862.68, the Nasdaq jumped 75.90 points or 1 percent to 7,898.05 and the S&P 500 advanced 25.36 points or 0.9 percent to 2,876.32.
The strength on Wall Street partly reflected a positive reaction to earnings news from Walmart (WMT), with the retail giant climbing by 1.4 percent.
The advance by Walmart comes after the company reported fiscal first quarter earnings that exceeded analyst estimates on better than expected comparable store sales growth.
Networking giant Cisco Systems (CSCO) also surged up by 6.7 percent after reporting fiscal third quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.
The markets also benefited from the release of a batch of upbeat economic data, including report from the Labor Department showing initial jobless claims dropped more than expected in the week ended May 11th.
The report said initial jobless claims slid to 212,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 228,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 220,000.
A separate report from the Commerce Department showed a substantial increase in new residential construction in the month of April.
The Commerce Department said housing starts surged up by 5.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.235 million in April after climbing by 1.7 percent to a revised rate of 1.168 million in March.
Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, also rose by 0.6 percent to a rate of 1.296 million in