FedEx earns, drop in claims push stocks higher

December 15, 2011 - 1:00 PM
Wall Street

Trader Michael Zicchinolfi, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. Strong earnings from FedEx and a sharp drop in claims for unemployment benefits sent stocks higher in early trading Thursday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) — Strong earnings from FedEx and a sharp drop in claims for unemployment benefits are pushing stocks mostly higher in midday trading.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 79 points, or 0.7 percent, to 11,903 at noon Thursday. The Dow lost 360 points over the past three days on worries that Europe's latest plan to keep its currency union intact would fail.

The number of people applying for unemployment dropped last week to 366,000, the lowest since May 2008. That's a sign that layoffs are easing.

FedEx Corp. jumped 6 percent after reporting that its quarterly income nearly doubled thanks to strong growth in online shopping.

The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 5 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,216. The Nasdaq edged down less than a point to 2,538.