Stocks Open Higher on Improved Job Picture

Investors snapped up stocks after the government reported fewer people collecting unemployment benefits.  The Dow surged 68 points to 9139 while Nasdaq leaped nearly 20 points to 1987.

On the upside

BT Group PLC (NYSE: BT) posted lower 1st quarter profits that beat expectations.  Britain's largest telecommunication company cited cost-cutting for the improvements.

Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) reported lower earnings, but an analyst upgraded the stock.

Shares of American Superconductor (Nasdaq: AMSC) soared after the company posted profits that surpassed estimates and raised its guidance for 2009.

The newspaper industry continued to rally.  Shares of A.H. Belo (NYSE: AHC) and McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) extended recent gains.

On the downside

Consumer products maker Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE: CL) posted higher 2nd quarter profits, but investors worried about the steeper than expected drop in revenues.

Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) reported a decline in revenues and earnings that disappointed investors.

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of nearly 5 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly the same on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 10 points to 558.

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