Wall Street edges up to records after Wal-Mart results

By Reuters

Nov 13, 2014 10:08 AM EST

U.S. stocks inched higher shortly after the open on Thursday, as the Dow and S&P touched new record intraday highs following earnings from Wal-Mart and data on the labor market.

Wal-Mart (WMT.N) shares advanced 2.8 percent to $81.42 as one of the biggest boosts to both the Dow and S&P 500 after theretail giant posted a 2.9 percent increase in third-quarter revenue.

Weekly initial jobless claims rose 12,000 to 290,000, above expectations for 280,000 claims, but remained near a 14-year low, and stood for a ninth straight week below the 300,000 mark.

"What we've seen is the market kind of inching out little gains," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois. "The market is just kind of tired."

The Dow and S&P 500 had ended slightly lower on Wednesday to break a five-day streak of record closing highs, while theNasdaq managed to advance.

The S&P 500 has rallied more than 9 percent from a six-month low in October, buoyed by supportive economic data and corporate earnings. For the year so far, it is up 10.3 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 47.69 points, or 0.27 percent, to 17,659.89, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 3.84 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,042.09 and the Nasdaq Composite.IXIC added 13.76 points, or 0.29 percent, to 4,688.90.

J.C. Penney (JCP.N) shares tumbled 9.4 percent to $7.03 after it reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss Wednesday but said same-store sales were flat and slightly cut its full-year revenue forecast.

Kohl's Corp (KSS.N) lost 2.1 percent to $56.69. The department store operator reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales and profit.

As earnings season winds down, Thomson Reuters data showed that of 453 companies in the S&P 500 to report, 74.8 percent beat expectations, above the 63 percent average beat rate since 1994 and 67 percent for the past four quarters. Earnings overall were expected to grow 10 percent over the year-ago period.

DreamWorks Animation shares (DWA.O) jumped 17.7 percent to $26.32 after the New York Times cited sources as saying toymaker Hasbro Inc (HAS.O) was in talks to buy the Hollywood studio. Hasbro shares lost 4.5 percent to $54.91.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) said it would acquire Procter & Gamble Co's (PG.N) Duracell battery business. Procter shares were flat at $89.48 while Berskhire's Class B shares (BRKb.N) edged up 0.4 percent to $146.03.

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