Stocks ended the day higher Thursday after investors pushed aside concerns about record oil prices and the market rallied on upbeat economic reports.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 91.48, or 0.9 percent, at 10,685.89. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 8.68, or 0.7 percent, to 1,237.81. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 16.74, or 0.8 percent, to 2,174.55.
The major stock indexes gained ground during the final two hours of the session, even after the price of oil briefly crossed $66 a barrel. It settled at a record high close of $65.80 a barrel, up 90 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
U.S. retail sales jumped 1.8 percent last month as buyer incentives led to the biggest gain in auto sales since just after the 9/11 attacks, while a separate government report showed a surprise drop in claims for jobless benefits last week.
Among local movers, shares of Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. gained 5.2 percent to $80.10 after the Pasadena-based real estate investment trust’s stock rating was upgraded to “overweight” from “neutral” by analyst Anthony Paolone at JPMorgan.
Center Financial Corp. rose 2.3 percent to $22.78 after the stock for the L.A.-based holding company of Center Bank was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by analyst Brett Rabatin at FTN MidWest Research. On Wednesday, Center Financial’s shares fell 2.3 percent after it filed for a five-day extension to file its 10-Q quarterly financial report for the second quarter.
On the down side, shares of Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. lost 6.2 percent to $22.79 after the sporting goods retailer stock rating was cut to “market perform” from “outperform” by analyst Mitchell Kaiser at Piper Jaffray & Co.
Point.360 fell 5 percent to $2.85 after the Burbank-based video and film asset management services company, reported a net loss of $268,000 (3 cents per diluted share) for the second quarter ended June 30, compared with income of $73,000 (1 cent) for the like period a year ago.
And ValueClick Inc. shares closed down 1.6 percent to $12.55 after the Westlake Village-based online marketing company agreed to acquire online advertising services company FastClick Inc. for stock valued at about $214 million. ValueClick said it expects to save about $4 million annually after the merger, which is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter.