NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market rose for the fifth time in six days Thursday as higher earnings from several big U.S. companies helped investors shrug off discouraging news about jobs and retail spending.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber surged to its highest level in almost six years after the company's earnings beat analysts' forecasts. CBS also jumped after the broadcaster beat Wall Street's profit expectations and speed up its stock buyback program.
Investors' focus has returned to company earnings after concerns about growth in emerging markets and the health of the U.S. economy pushed the Standard & Poor's 500 index to its lowest level in more than three months at the start of February. Analysts at S&P Capital IQ expect that earnings at companies in the index increased last quarter at the fastest pace in a year.
"The momentum from earnings continues," said Andres Garcia-Amaya, a global market strategist at JPMorgan Funds.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 10.57 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,829.83. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 63.65 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,027.59. The Nasdaq composite rose 39.38 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4,240.67.
Stocks also got a lift from deal news.
Time Warner Cable surged $9.50, or 7 percent, to $144.81 after the company agreed to be acquired by rival Comcast for $45.2 billion in stock. The deal would combine the top two cable TV companies in the United States. Comcast fell $2.27, or 4.1 percent, to $52.97.
The biggest gains in the S&P 500 were posted by utility companies. Gains in these stocks suggest investors are looking to play it safe. Utilities don't have the best growth prospects, but they pay steady dividends and operate in stable industries.
Stocks opened lower Thursday following lackluster reports on the U.S. job market and retail sales.
The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose 8,000 last week to 339,000, the Labor Department said. Economist had forecast claims of just 330,000.
A separate report showed that cold weather caused U.S. retail sales to drop in January as Americans spent less on autos and clothing and at restaurants during a brutally cold month. The Commerce Department says retail sales fell 0.4 percent last month, the second straight decline after a 0.1 percent drop in December.
The stock market inched higher throughout the morning. Major indexes turned positive by late morning as investors assessed a handful of encourage corporate earnings reports.