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Stock Market Update for January 24, 2013

January 24, 2013

Stocks have moved mostly higher in early trading on Thursday, although a sharp drop by shares of Apple (AAPL) is weighing on the tech sector. The major averages have turned mixed, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq stuck in the red.

The Nasdaq has recently climbed well off its low for the young session but remains in negative territory. While the Nasdaq is down 10.24 points or 0.3 percent at 3,143.42, the Dow is up 55.31 points or 0.4 percent at 13,834.64 and the S&P 500 is up 3.41 points or 0.2 percent at 1,498.22.

market previewThe mixed performance by the major averages comes as shares of Apple have tumbled by 10 percent after the iPad and iPhone maker reported quarterly results that disappointed investors.

After the close of trading on Wednesday, Apple reported better than expected first quarter earnings but on weaker than expected sales. The company also reported iPhone sales that missed expectations and provided disappointing second quarter revenue guidance.

While the drop by Apple is weighing on the Nasdaq, other sectors have benefited from the release of a report from the Labor Department showing an unexpected drop in jobless claims.

The report showed that initial jobless claims dipped to 330,000 in the week ended January 19th, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s unrevised figure of 335,000. The drop surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to climb to 355,000.

With the unexpected decrease, jobless claims fell to their lowest level since hitting 318,000 in the week ended January 19, 2008.

While the Labor Department said seasonal distortions are likely still in effect, Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital, said the news on the job front is encouraging “even when you remove all of the noise.”

Trucking stocks have shown a substantial move to the upside, driving the Dow Jones Trucking Index up by 2.9 percent. With the gain, the index has reached its best intraday level in well over a year.

Early strength is also visible among internet stocks, with Netflix (NFLX) leading the way higher after reporting an unexpected fourth quarter profit. Shares of Netflix have surged up by 42.2 percent.

Retail, healthcare provider, and housing stocks are also seeing early strength, while notable weakness is visible among gold stocks.

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