Closing Bell: Stocks End Higher on Upbeat Economic Data

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 22:  People walk past the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square after trading was halted on all Nasdaq-listed stocks on August 22, 2013 in New York City.  A technical glitch caused all Nasdaq stock trading to be halted this afternoon.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images

U.S. stocks ended higher Thursday, boosted by positive economic data in a session marred by a historic halt in trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange caused by a technical glitch.

Nasdaq trading resumed at 3:25 p.m. Eastern time, after being stopped shortly after noon because of problems with a quote dissemination system. The glitch was blamed for pushing shares in the owner of the exchange, Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ), lower. The stock, which trades on the Nasdaq, fell 3 percent to $30.46 after trading outage.

The Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) ended the day higher, gaining 38 points, or 1.1 percent, to 3,638. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 66 points, or 0.4 percent, to 14,963, snapping a six-day losing streak. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose 14 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,656.

In economic news, the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits last week held near a six-year low and U.S. manufacturing activity rose this month, suggesting the economy is starting to find firmer footing.

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Initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed 13,000 to 336,000, just above the level expected by economists in a Reuters poll, Labor Department data showed. Separately, financial data firm Markit said its preliminary index on factory activity rose in August to 53.9, its best showing since March. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Gap (GPS) reported a higher second-quarter profit, helped by the sales gains at its namesake and Old Navy chains and online, leading the clothing retailer to raise its full year profit forecast and dividend. Gap earned 64 cents a share for the second quarter, in line with its own revised forecast.

Other Stocks in the News:

  • Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) fell 12.5 percent to $22.22 after the company reported weak demand for personal computers and falling revenue late Wednesday. The company's earnings were below Wall Street expectations.

  • Dollar Tree Stores (DLTR) rose 2.5 percent to $53.13 after the company reported earnings that surpassed the expectations of Wall Street analysts. The company also raised the lower end of its full-year earnings forecast.

  • GameStop (GME), a video game retailer, surged 9 percent to $51.91 after the company posted earnings that beat analyst expectations and raised its outlook for full-year earnings.

What to Watch Friday:

  • The Commerce Department releases data on new home sales for July at 10 a.m. Eastern time.

-Compiled from staff and wire reports.