US STOCKS-Wall St gains ground as FedEx rises

* FedEx results miss estimates, raises outlook

* Factory activity in mid-Atlantic unexpectedly improves

* Dow up 0.3 pct, S&P up 0.5, Nasdaq up 0.7 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to late morning, changes byline)

By Leah Schnurr

NEW YORK, Dec 16 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) were modestly
higher on Thursday after bellwether FedEx offered a bullish
forecast, while trade was tight as investors continued to
adjust toward year-end.

FedEx Corp (FDX.N: ) raised its full-year outlook on
unexpectedly strong holiday volume and an improved economic
view, though it reported quarterly profit and revenue that
missed expectations.

Its shares rose 2 percent to $94.21 and helped the S&P
industrials sector (.GSPI: ) gain nearly 1 percent. For details,
see [ID:nN16208769]

Volume was thin and trading was tight as investors looked
for stocks that have performed well for the year and sold off
the losers. Analysts expected market action to be sideways for
the next two weeks with a bias to the upside.

“I think we’ll be in a trading range until January, and I’d
be surprised to see moves of more than 2 percent in either
direction until then. We’re just drifting around,” said Jeffrey
Friedman, senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) gained 37.62
points, or 0.33 percent, to 11,495.09. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) rose 6.32 points, or 0.51 percent, to
1,241.55. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) climbed 18.47
points, or 0.71 percent, to 2,635.69.

“Technically, the Dow enters today trading above potential
short-term support at the 11,450 level, while resistance at the
11,500 level is still a major barrier to a continued rally,”
said Joseph Hargett, analyst at Schaeffer’s Investment Research
in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Economic data provided a positive backdrop, with factory
activity in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region unexpectedly rising in
December, while jobless claims dipped for a second week.
November housing starts rose, but permits for future home
construction dropped to a 1-1/2 year low. [ID:nN16214117]

Worries over sovereign debt also kept gains in check. The
European Central Bank acted to increase its financial firepower
in the euro zone debt crisis by almost doubling its capital to
cope with increased credit risk and market volatility.
[ID:nLDE6BE29I]

On the Nasdaq, Wynn Resorts Ltd (WYNN.O: ) jumped 4.7 percent
to $105.47 after JPMorgan raised its rating to “overweight”
from “neutral”. [RCH/US]
(Additional reporting by Angela Moon and Ryan Vlastelica;
editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

US STOCKS-Wall St gains ground as FedEx rises