U.S. stocks pared initial weakness to turn higher by mid-day trade on Thursday as investors cheered better-than-expected economic data; however, overall market sentiment is likely to remain wobbly until the Federal Reserve announces its interest rate policy stance, next week.
Concerns over early tapering of the economic stimulating measures amid improving macroeconomic environment, has kept investors on the tenterhooks.
At last check, the DJIA added 0.24%; the NASDAQ Composite Index gained 0.17% while the S&P 500 Index advanced0.25%
Shares of Gannett Company (NYSE: GCI
) and shares of Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC
) skyrocketed more than 20% by midday trade. Earlier today, Gannett said that it has agreed to purchase Belo Corp in deal valued at $1.5 billion. Gannett would pay $13.75 a share, which represents 28.1% over Belo Corp’s Wednesday’s closing stock price.
Shares of Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY
) rallied about 8.5% by afternoon trade. Empire Company Ltd, which own grocery chain Sobeys Inc., said on Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire Safeway’s Canadian operations in a deal valued at $5.7 billion. Safeway said that it would use the proceeds towards repaying the debt and remainder cash will be used for shares buyback.
Earlier today, a data provided by the Labor Department showed that weekly jobless claims fell to 334,000 for the last week from 346,000, a week before. Economists polled by Reuters were expecting claims to remain almost flat at 345,000.
U.S. retail sales climbed 0.6% in May, beating analysts’ forecast for 0.3% gains.
Elsewhere in Europe, equities trimmed losses but were mainly lower with pan European Stoxx 600 down 0.22%, at last check.