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Trader Greg Rowe of Livermore Trading works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange on April 25, 2013. Stocks rose on Thursday, following upbeat earnings and better-than-expected reports on U.K. economic growth and U.S. initial jobless claims. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
Trader Greg Rowe of Livermore Trading works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange on April 25, 2013. Stocks rose on Thursday, following upbeat earnings and better-than-expected reports on U.K. economic growth and U.S. initial jobless claims. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

The close: Stocks gain on earnings, upbeat economic reports Add to ...

Stocks rose on Thursday, following upbeat earnings and better-than-expected reports on U.K. economic growth and U.S. initial jobless claims.

The S&P 500 closed at 1,585.16, up 6.37 points or 0.4 per cent – marking its fifth straight gain as it recovers from jitters that followed its record-high close earlier this month.

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The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average closed at 14,700.80, up 24.50 points or 0.2 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,329.51, up 59.08 points or 0.5 per cent.

The moves follow a report showing that the U.K. economy expanded by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter – feeble growth, for sure, but ahead of expectations and a reversal from a 0.3 per cent contraction in the fourth quarter.

In the United States, the Labor Department reported that jobless claims for the period ended last week fell by 16,000 to 339,000 – which was better than expected ad points again to healing within the labour market.

Earnings also helped. United Parcel Service Inc. rose 2.3 per cent and Dow Chemical Co. rose 5.6 per cent after their respective results topped expectations.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. rose 2.7 per cent after it reported earnings of $556-million or 63 cents a share, beating estimates. The company also announced that it will abandon plans to buy a bigger stake in Israel Chemicals Ltd.

Gold rose to $1,463.10 (U.S.) an ounce, up $39.60 dollars, continuing its rebound. Since its sharp decline at the start of last week, gold has risen in eight of the past nine sessions, for gains of 8.7 per cent.

 
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