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Disappointing U.S. jobless claims and concerns that Greece will turn to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout held stocks back on Thursday. However, the bad news certainly didn't dent them, with North American indexes touching new bull-market highs.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 11,144.57, up 21.46 points, or 0.2 per cent. The broader S&P 500 closed at 1211.67, up 1.02 points, or 0.1 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,211.52, up 7.11 points, or less than 0.1 per cent.

Earnings news was again key. United Parcel Service Inc. rose 5.3 per cent after the package delivery company Wednesday reported a 37 per cent rise in adjusted earnings in the first quarter and raised its forecast for 2010.

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The gains helped lift industrials by 0.9 per cent, for the biggest gains among the 10 subindexes within the S&P 500. As well, Intel Corp. continued its rise, gaining another 3 per cent after reporting better-than-expected results earlier this week.

Google Inc. rose 1.1 per cent at the end of regular trading, ahead of its quarterly earnings report. The Web search company reported earnings of $6.76 (U.S.) a share, after excluding some costs. However, this one will need some debate: According to Bloomberg, the earnings beat the consensus expectation among analysts, but fell shy of some expectations, leaving the shares down in after-market trading.

In Canada, commodity producers fell slightly after the price of gold treaded water and crude oil declined slightly. Suncor Energy Inc. fell 0.8 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. fell 1.3 per cent.

Financials were more or less flat, but industrials gained 1.2 per cent. Within this group, Canadian National Railway Co. rose 1.8 per cent after Wednesday's strong earnings report from CSX Corp.

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About the Author
Investing Reporter

David Berman has been writing about business and investing since 1995. He has written for a number of magazines, including Canadian Business and MoneySense. He worked at the Financial Post as an investing writer and daily columnist before moving to the Globe and Mail in 2008. More

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