* Disney boosts Dow, S&P 500
* Initial claims decline more than expected
* Twitter slumps after results
* Green Mountain surges on deal with Coca-Cola
* Indexes up: Dow 1.16 pct, S&P 1.22 pct, Nasdaq 1.21 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Feb 6 U.S. stocks rose on Thursday
after a drop in applications for unemployment insurance boosted
confidence in the economy, and as Disney's results overshot
The rally comes ahead of the widely-followed payrolls report
due Friday, which some are expecting to be affected by the
extreme cold weather that has hit much of the United States.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined
20,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 331,000. While the
data has no direct bearing on January's employment report, as it
falls outside the survey period, it bodes well for the jobs
market and the overall economy.
"Investors recently have been choosing to look at the glass
half empty data and not focus on the positives," said Jack
Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago.
"Bad weather causes cancellations, flight problems, business
closings. I'm hoping we get an upward revision to the December
(payrolls) number tomorrow, but if we get a lousy number I'm not
going to crawl under a rock."
The recent soft data added to jitters about growth in China
and a selloff in emerging market currencies and stocks. But a
near 6 percent decline on the S&P 500 was seen by some as a
buying opportunity, as earnings continue to grow.
Walt Disney was the most recent bellwether to beat
expectations as its profit topped estimates, sending its shares
up 5.4 percent to $75.61. Disney led gains on both the Dow
industrials and S&P 500.
According to Thomson Reuters data, of the 330 companies in
the S&P 500 that have reported earnings through Thursday
morning, 68.8 percent have topped Wall Street expectations,
above the 63 percent beat rate since 1994 and the 67 percent
rate for the past four quarters.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 178.66 points
or 1.16 percent, to 15,618.89, the S&P 500 gained 21.4
points or 1.22 percent, to 1,773.04 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 48.395 points or 1.21 percent, to 4,059.947.
Despite the gains, the S&P 500 was on track for its fourth
consecutive negative week, something it hasn't done since
July-August of 2011.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, one of the most
shorted stocks on Wall Street, surged 29.6 percent to $104.85 as
the top boost to the Nasdaq 100 index. Coca-Cola
bought a 10 percent stake for $1.25 billion and said it would
help launch Green Mountain's new cold drink machine.
Coke shares gained 1.2 percent to $38.08 while home beverage
device maker SodaStream International rose 10.4 percent
The Nasdaq also received a boost from Akamai Technologies
, which soared 19.9 percent to $56.91 after forecasting
Bucking the bullish trend, Spirit AeroSystems shares
fell 21.1 percent to $26. The major supplier of components to
Boeing and Airbus, reported a quarterly loss on
charges tied mainly to the Boeing 787 program.
Also on the downside, Twitter reported slow user
growth, dimming hopes the company could sustain its quick
expansion and sending shares down 22.2 percent to $51.34.
On the other hand, Yelp added more customers,
allowing it to report better-than-expected quarterly revenue
after the bell on Wednesday. Its shares jumped 19.4 percent to
Other economic data showed the U.S. trade deficit widened
more than expected in December as exports fell, which could see
the advance fourth-quarter growth estimate trimmed. Nonfarm
productivity rose more than expected in the fourth quarter, but
weak unit labor costs pointed to subdued wage inflation.