A larger than expected drop in unemployment claims last week lifted the markets to a modestly higher close with with the Dow rising 55 points to 12,582. Nasdaq climbed 30 points to 2352.
On the upside
Teen retailer Aeropostale (NYSE: ARO) reported that March same store sales climbed 2.5%, more than the expected 1.4% gain.
Banc of America upgraded National Semiconductor (NYSE: NSM) saying that the company can improve its profit margin.
On the downside
Jefferies & Co. analyst Romeo Reyes downgraded Virgin Media (Nasdaq: VMED) and slashed his price target for the company after the company announced the sale of $1 billion in bonds.
Stage Stores (NYSE: SSI) slashed its first quarter outlook due to sharply lower same store sales for March.
JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) reduced its stake in Ambac Financial Group (NYSE: ABK) from 7.7% to 0.4%.
In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by more than 7 to 5 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks gained 9 points to 707.