US STOCKS-Wall St rises with transports, but data a drag

* UPS rises after results, lifting transport sector

* Jobless claims rise in latest week

* Google to report results after the bell

* Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P 500 up 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up 0.4 pct

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

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, April 15 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) inched higher
on Thursday as an upbeat profit forecast from United Parcel
Service (UPS.N: ) lifted transportation shares, but concerns
about a rise in weekly jobless claims limited gains.

UPS late Wednesday posted a first-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.) that was
sharply above consensus and raised its profit outlook,
prompting at least two brokers to upgrade the package shipping
company’s stock. For details, see [ID:nSGE63E0IM]

The stock rose 6.2 percent to $69.52 while peer shipper
FedEx Corp (FDX.N: ) gained 2.6 percent to $96.44. The Dow Jones
Transportation Average (.DJT: ) climbed 2.2 percent, hitting a
fresh 52-week high in intraday trading.

New U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly soared last week due
to applications delayed by the Easter holiday.
[ID:nN15325702]

“Earnings have shown that the economy is gaining momentum,
but the bulls are taking a break today because of the data,”
said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W.
Baird & Co in Nashville.

Bittles added that while he considered the claims data a
negative for the market, he didn’t think they were part of a
trend.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) was up 15.72
points, or 0.14 percent, at 11,138.83. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) was up 1.72 points, or 0.14 percent, at
1,212.37. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) was up 10.63
points, or 0.42 percent, at 2,515.49.

Earlier, the S&P 500 touched an intraday high at 1,213.92,
its highest in 19 months. The Dow also reached a 19-month
intraday high at 11,144.95 earlier in the session.

Google Inc (Read more about Google Stock Analysis) (GOOG.O: ), due to report after the close, helped
boost the Nasdaq, rising 1.4 percent to $597.01. Options
investors expect the Internet search giant’s shares to move
higher after the results. [ID:nN15240852]

Its climb follows upbeat results from Intel Corp (INTC.O: )
earlier this week. Intel rose 3.1 percent to $24.25 and was
the Dow’s top percentage gainer.

S&P 500 companies’ quarterly earnings now forecast to rise
38.2 percent from a year ago, slightly better than the 36.6
percent increase forecast on April 1, according to Thomson
Reuters data.

Worries that debt-plagued Greece was ready to use an
emergency bailout package weighed on sentiment earlier in the
day, but the S&P 500 remained well above the key 1,200 mark
and the Dow above 11,000. The recent break above those levels
was the first time since September 2008.

The next key resistance level is 1,214 on the S&P 500,
just shy of the 61.8 Fibonnaci retracement from the all-time
high reached in October 2007 to the multi-year low reached in
March 2009.

In other data released on Thursday, the Philadelphia
Federal Reserve Bank’s business activity index rose slightly
more than expected in April while the New York Federal
Reserve’s “Empire State” manufacturing index rose to a
six-month high.

Analysts have been more optimistic about the U.S. stock
market’s performance for the year. On Thursday, Bank of
America-Merrill Lynch raised its year-end target for the S&P
500 to 1,300 from 1,275. [ID:nN15252408]

Stock Market Report

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Jan Paschal)

US STOCKS-Wall St rises with transports, but data a drag