The biggest stock market news today: After five sessions of declines - the longest consecutive streak of losses so far this year - stocks finally closed higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 15,328.49, for a 55.23-point gain. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 5.90 to 1,698.67, and the Nasdaq closed up 26.33 at 3,787.43.
In stock market news today, new applications for unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 to 305,000 last week, according to the Labor Department's report today. However, that number is slightly shy of the 300,000 new applications economists expected.
As for the gross domestic product (GDP), that report was unchanged, meaning the U.S. economy grew to the reported 2.5% in the second quarter.
Here are the biggest stocks making news today:
Stock Market News Today: IPOs
Several companies are making headlines this week with their initial public offering (IPO) plans, including Twitter, Alibaba, and Chrysler.
Alibaba, a China-based tech company long anticipated to rival Facebook as one of the largest IPOs, is forging ahead with plans to join the stock market in New York, according to a New York Times article today. This offering could fetch as much as $75 billion, about twice as large as Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO).
And investors are also braced for a noteworthy IPO from Chrysler, which filed for an offering earlier this week.
If the recent IPO by Rocket Fuel Inc. (Nasdaq: FUEL) is any indicator, the IPO market is fairly healthy these days. Rocket Fuel shares nearly doubled their value after the company sold more than 4 million shares at the high end of its price range of $27 to $29 since debuting last week.
Rocket Fuel, a tech company that provides data-driven modeling and artificial intelligence, is now trading at about $56.30 per share, giving the company a market cap of about $1.8 billion.
Among the companies launching an IPO this week, Premier (Nasdaq: PINC), a healthcare performance improvement alliance helping hospitals and health systems, is set to join the NASDAW Global Select Market today. Premier priced its IPO of 28,151,958 shares of its common stock at $27 per share.
Yesterday, BDC Capitala Finance Corp. (Nasdaq: CPTA), a public business development company, launched its IPO at $20 per share, raising about $80 million. CPTA traded around $19 today.
Today's Stock Market Top Movers
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBY) shares are on the move today after the retailer reported its quarterly results in after-hours trade yesterday. BBBY was up about 4.4% in afternoon trading after it reported second-quarter earnings of $1.16 per share, versus the Street consensus of $1.15 per share. Sales were $2.82 billion versus expectations of $2.81 billion.
Bed Bath & Beyond's comparable store sales in the fiscal second quarter of 2013 increased by approximately 3.7%, compared with an increase of approximately 3.5% in last year's fiscal second quarter. And the company's outlook for the third quarter and fiscal 2013 are generally in line with estimates.
In other movers in stock market news today, Caesars Entertainment Corp. (Nasdaq: CZR) fell more than 5% as it says it is starting an underwritten public offering of 10 million shares of its common stock. Caesars expects to grant the underwriter of the offering an option to purchase up to 1.5 million additional shares of its common stock.
Ceasars' shares are still trading far from the bottom of their 52-week low of $4.52.
Also, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) shares rose about 5% earlier today as the struggling retailer says it was pleased with its turnaround progress today. This stock was trading down 8% earlier but closed with about a 2% gain.
Technology Stock Market News Today
This week, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) dominated headlines as shares have surged on the debut of the company's latest iPhone 5s and 5c models, which sold a record 9 million units over last weekend. Apple, trading at $486.50 today, is enjoying further gains today as CNBC reports Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is meeting with noted investor Carl Icahn on Monday.
Meanwhile, BlackBerry Ltd. (NYSE: BBRY) shares have not fared as well. As iPhone sales have soared, investors have become more skeptical of how BlackBerry's own phones can fair with market share.
Shares of BlackBerry skidded this week - falling as much as 6% Wednesday - as investors also began to doubt the company's ability to go private. T-Mobile said it would stop stocking BlackBerry in its stores.
And, finally in other technology news today, Alcatel Lucent (NYSE: ALU) shares are up 1% at $3.62. They tapped a new 52-week high of $3.70 today, after Reuters reported on speculation that Nokia Corp. (NYSE ADR: NOK) is in internal discussions on a possible purchase of Alcatel-Lucent. Despite the buzz, sources say no formal talks are underway. NOK fell about 0.2% today.
Financial Stock News
In financial stocks news today, Altisource Residential Corp. (NYSE: RESI) is down 2% after it priced an underwritten public offering of 15 million shares of its common stock at $21 per share.
The company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to purchase non-performing and sub-performing residential mortgage loans and for general corporate purposes.
Also, iStar Financial Inc.'s (NYSE: SFI) board of directors has approved an increase of the company's stock repurchase program, raising the repurchase limit to $50 million from the $16 million remaining under the previously approved plan.
Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) says it is in talks to settle government probes regarding mortgages for about $11 billion, Reuters reported today, citing two people familiar with the matter.
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