US STOCKS-Wall St jumps on earnings, Greece aid

* Fears ease over Greece’s debt situation

* Baidu hits all-time high on results, outlook

* Palm jumps after H-P acquisition

* Dow up 1.3 pct, S&P up 1.4 pct, Nasdaq up 1.6 pct

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

By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK, April 29 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) rose on Thursday
as investors welcomed a string of solid earnings reports, while
debt-laden Greece appeared to be nearing a bailout deal, easing
fears about the stability of the euro zone.

Greece’s borrowing costs fell after Athens readied for
austerity measures to secure funds, and Germany’s finance
minister said there is no alternative but to provide financial
aid. That helped lift financial markets concerned about a
possible default in Europe. For details see [ID:nLDE63S0BL].

“We have seen some of those fears subside,” said Dan Cook,
senior market analyst at IG Markets in Chicago. “At least for
today we have had some respite from this whole fear thing of
the contagion of sovereign debt.”

Continuing the generally favorable earnings season, Visa
Inc, (V.N: ) the world’s top credit and debit card network
operator, reported higher-than-expected profits and raised its
revenue outlook, spurring hopes of a revival in consumer
spending.

But Visa’s shares slipped 0.6 percent to $93.03 after
hitting an all-time high at $97.14 on Monday.

Shares of cellphone maker Motorola Inc (MOT.N: ) gained 2.9
percent to $7.12 on the New York Stock Exchange and the
U.S.-listed stock of China’s Internet search giant, Baidu Inc,
(BIDU.O: ) hit an all-time high of $718 on the Nasdaq after both
posted upbeat results. [ID:nN29206408] and [ID:nSGE63S0K9].

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) gained 144.42
points, or 1.31 percent, to 11,189.69. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) rose 17.12 points, or 1.44 percent, to
1,208.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) added 39.07
points, or 1.58 percent, to 2,510.80.

The S&P 500’s percentage gain marked its largest daily
advance in nearly eight weeks. After spiking sharply this week,
the CBOE VIX volatility index, Wall Street’s index of choice
for gauging market volatility, fell 12.4 percent, it’s steepest
drop in more than 14 months.

Boosting the Nasdaq, Palm Inc (PALM.O: ) surged 25.1 percent
to $5.79 after Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N: ) agreed to buy the
smartphone maker for $1.2 billion. HP slipped 0.8 percent to
$52.83.

In the health sector, Aetna Inc (AET.N: ) reported
better-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its forecast.
The health insurer’s stock rose 3 percent to $31.42, and the
Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payors index (.HM0: ) rose 3 percent.
[ID:nN29202664]

Also helping the health sector, Bristol-Myers Squibb
(BMY.N: ) joined a growing band of U.S. drugmakers predicting a
hit to their company profits from the recent healthcare
overhaul, but the impact on Bristol-Myers was less than
investors feared, sending its shares up 5 percent to $25.54.
[ID:nLDE63S0UV]

Higher oil prices during the quarter boosted profits for
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N: ) and ConocoPhillips (COP.N: ), though
Exxon said its earnings were hurt by the health reform
legislation. [ID:nN29246334].

Exxon’s stock slid 0.5 percent to $68.83, but shares of
ConocoPhillips gained 1.7 percent to $59.52.

In a sign more investors are starting to warm to equities,
U.S. fund managers increased their already heavy investment in
stocks in April and decreased bond allocations, a Reuters poll
showed. [ID:nN28210567] and [US/ASSET].

Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly less
than expected in the latest week, the government said, but the
numbers were less than the previous week, suggesting an
improving labor market. The data came a day after the Federal
Reserve said it was upbeat about the economy. [ID:nN27125552]

Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by
a ratio of more than 3 to 1, while on the Nasdaq, about five
stocks rose for every two that fell.

Stock Market Trading

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

US STOCKS-Wall St jumps on earnings, Greece aid