Stock market gains on better global growth outlook

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose in early trading on Wall Street after encouraging economic figures from Asia and Europe boosted the outlook for global growth.

In China, a private survey by the HSBC bank indicated expansion, providing further evidence that the world’s second-largest economy may be over its recent soft patch. In Europe, a survey of manufacturing and services for the 17 countries that use the euro climbed to its highest level since June 2011.

“Europe seems to be getting its swing back, especially Germany,” said Doug Cote, chief market strategist at ING U.S. Investment Management. The figures “are not super exciting, but directionally they are good.”

The stock market has had a poor August as traders and investors have fretted that the Federal Reserve is poised to start easing back on the economic stimulus that has helped underpin a 4 ½-year bull market. The U.S. central bank is buying $85 billion of bonds a month to hold down long-term interest rates.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 9 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,651 in early trading. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 19 points, or 0.1 percent, to 14,919. The Nasdaq composite gained 21 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,622.

The Dow fell for six days straight through Wednesday and is down 3.8 percent for the month. The S&P 500 has dropped 2.6 percent and is trading close to its lowest in six weeks.

On Thursday, the market rose despite some poor results from a pair of retailing companies.

Sears fell $3.69, or 8.6 percent, to $39.60 after the company said its second-quarter loss widened as the number of stores in operation declined and the company dealt with lingering effects from its spinoff of the Hometown and Outlet brand. Abercrombie & Fitch fell $9.76, or 21 percent, to $37.10 after the company said that declining traffic and weakness in girls’ clothing pushed its net income down 33 percent in the second quarter.

In commodities trading, the price of oil rose 50 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $104.34 a barrel. Gold rose $3.20, or 0.2 percent, to $1,373.70 an ounce.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.88 percent from 2.89 percent Wednesday.

The dollar was little changed against the euro and rose against the Japanese yen.

Among other stocks making big moves:

— Hewlett-Packard fell $3.30, or 13 percent, to $22.06 after the company reported weak demand for personal computers and falling revenue late Wednesday. The company’s earnings were below Wall Street’s expectations.

—Dollar Tree rose $1.39, or 2.6 percent, to $53.23 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.

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