US stocks were trading higher on Thursday after the string of economic report buoyed investors. The Dow Jones industrial average was trading higher by 77.16 points or 0.62 percent to trade at 12,568.77 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index added 7.59 points or 0.58 percent to trade at 1,325.31. The Nasdaq composite index was up 17.22 points, or 0.62 percent to trade at 2,814.14.
Harford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: HIG) on late Wednesday warned it will badly miss second quarter expectations after severe losses on natural disasters and a charge to increase its asbestos reserves. The company also lowered its second quarter FY 2011 net income at $24 million and core earnings at about $12 million. HIG was trading lower by 0.55 percent to $25.46 on Thursday.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) said Thursday that its second quarter FY 2011 revenues were $26.8 billion, up 7 percent from $25.1 billion in the same quarter last year. Net income for the quarter was $5.4 billion, or $1.27 per share, compared with net income of $4.8 billion, or $1.09 in the second quarter of 2010. The reported EPS exceeded Wall Street's estimate of $1.21 per share. JPM was up 3 percent to $40.81.
Southern Union Company (NYSE: SUG) received an enhanced proposal for its acquisition from Williams Companies Inc. (NYSE: WMB). Williams has agreed to pay $44 a share in cash for the acquisition, valuing the company at $9.4 billion. SUG is trading higher by 4.30 percent to $43.39 a share, while WMB lost 1.01 percent to $28.50 on Thursday. SUG was trading higher by 4.57 percent to $43.50, while WMB gained 1.77 percent to $29.30 today.
Marriot International Inc. (NYSE: MAR) said last Wednesday that its second quarter net income increased by 13 percent to $135 million, or $0.37 per share, compared with net income of $119 million, or $0.31 per share. The reported EPS met Wall Street consensus estimate, but missed the revenues forecast. Marriot was trading lower by 6.84 percent to $34.60 a share.
Toll Brothers Ins. (NYSE: TOL) has been upgraded by analysts at Goldman Sachs to buy from neutral on Thursday, saying that confidence was growing in the higher end of the housing market. Goldman also raised its 6-months price target on the stock to $25 a share from $20 a share. Shares of Toll Brother were up 1.78 percent to $21.12 on Thursday.
Shares of ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) jumped 6.67 percent to $79.36 on Thursday, after the oil company said it would divide into two separate publicly traded companies.
Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE: WSM) stock rose 2.74 percent to $39 a share on Thursday, after analysts at Goldman Sachs upgraded its stock rating to buy from neutral, citing the company could exceed its already above consensus second quarter estimates as its sales remained strong.