Stocks moved higher for a fourth straight session Thursday, as oil prices hovered near a three-month low and economic data was a mixed bag, with some improvement in the labor market last week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 28.74 points, or 0.3 percent, at 10,493.19. Standard & Poor's 500 Index finished up 5.52 points, or 0.5 percent, at 1,191.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended the day up 11.93 points, or 0.6 percent, at 2,042.58.
Oil futures slipped below $47 a barrel, settling at a new three-month low, after a sharp decline Wednesday driven by a report showing more strong growth in U.S. crude supplies.
In economic news, U.S. Mid-Atlantic factory activity fell in May to the lowest level in nearly two years, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Its business activity index skidded to 7.3 in May from 25.3 in April, the largest one-month drop since January 2001.
However, government data showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 20,000 last week. First-time claims for state jobless aid fell to 321,000 in the week ended May 14 from an upwardly revised 341,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said. Analysts on average had been looking for jobless claims of 330,000.
Among local companies, Impco Technologies Inc. soared 17.6 percent to $3.75 even after the Cerritos-based provider of fuel systems technology reported late Wednesday that it missed analysts' first-quarter earnings and revenue estimates. The company also said that Thomas Costales would step in as interim chief financial officer, a job he previously held from 1995 to 1999. Costales takes over for Nickolai A. Gerde, who resigned last month.
After the closing bell, Impco announced that it was no longer in danger of being delisted by the Nasdaq. The company had received notice that it could be delisted for failing to file its Form 10-Q on a timely basis. Impco said today that the form was filed on May 18.
Maguire Properties Inc. gained 2.6 percent to $26.03 after the L.A.-based real estate investment trust said it agreed to sell a Phoenix office building for nearly $130 million. The buyer was not identified. The sale of One Renaissance Square, a 484,000-square-foot office building, will include the assumption of $104 million in mortgage debt.
On the down side, two bank holding companies' shares fell after their stocks were downgraded to "hold" from "buy" by analyst Brian Conn at Sandler O'Neill & Partners, LP. L.A.-based Cathay General Bancorp slipped 2.3 percent to close at $34. and San Marino-based East West Bancorp Inc. dipped 1.4 percent to $34.44.
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