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US stocks soared on China trade balance, US jobless claims

stock_followingU.S. stocks advanced, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index putting to an end a three-day drop, as Chinese trade balance data topped estimates and jobless claims fell to the lowest monthly rate since before the recession.

The S&P 500 added 0.4% to 1,697.48 at 4 p.m. in New York, reducing the index’s weekly drop to 0.7%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 27.65 points, or 0.2%, to 15,498.32. About 5.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 6.9% below the three-month average.

“It shows that the data is moving in the right direction, so at the end of the day that is a positive catalyst for stocks,” Anastasia Amoroso, Global Market Strategist at JP Morgan Funds, which oversees about $400 billion, said in a phone interview for Bloomberg. “There could be some short-term volatility around how that impacts Fed policy. One thing to keep in mind is if the Fed does actually reduce the pace of purchases, that is for some very good reasons.”

Stock benchmarks this week have been pushed down by concerns that the Federal Reserve will ease back from its monthly bond-buying as soon as next month. The program has driven bond yields lower and helped support the rally in stocks. But with the S&P 500 up 19% this year through Thursday, traders said market participants are evaluating their next moves.

In corporate news, Tesla Motors jumped 19.25, or 14%, to 153.48—an all-time high—after the luxury electric-car makers quarterly loss narrowed sharply, and the company said it delivered more vehicles than expected. Teslas stock has more than quadrupled this year.

Groupon Inc. added 22% to $10.60, the biggest jump since December. The operator of the largest daily-deals website’s second-quarter net loss was narrower than analysts forecast. The company also named co-founder Eric Lefkofsky as CEO to lead turnaround plans.

Consumer discretionary shares climbed 0.7% as a group. L Brands Inc., which operates Victoria’s Secret, gained 5.2% to $60.25 after reporting same-store sales in July rose more than analysts estimated.

J.C. Penney Co. jumped 6.7% to $13.66. The department-store chain seeking to rebound from its worst sales year in more than two decades gained for the first time since July 29 after CNBC said the retailer is searching for a new chief executive officer. The stock had lost 23% in the seven sessions through yesterday.

JP Morgan Chase lost 0.9% to $54.83 for the biggest slide in the Dow and a fifth straight losing session. The biggest U.S. bank said the Justice Department’s civil division found in May that the bond-sales practices broke civil laws.

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