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Stocks Close Near Highs, Dow Shy of 13,000
12 Apr 2012 EDT - CNBC.com
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Stocks were further fueled amid speculation surrounding China's first-quarter GDP due later tonight, with some traders saying the report could be better than expected at 9 percent, rather than the estimated 8.4 percent.

“I tend to be suspicious of Chinese economic data rumors,” cautioned Marc Chandler, head of foreign exchange strategy, adding that the rumor may be impacting markets because people believe China may be close to further easing policy.

Still, materials led the rally, with U.S. Steel and Freeport-McMoran surging sharply.

Weekly jobless claims increased 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 380,000, rising to its highest level since January, according to the Labor Department. The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, rose 4,250 to 368,500.

“Looking at the week-to-week data, we’re going to see gyrations as we get into the summer lull,” said Matt Lloyd, chief investment strategist at Advisor Asset Management. “But the more important thing to look at is last week’s revision, which was higher.”

Google is scheduled to post earnings after the bell. Analysts expect the Internet giant to post earnings of $9.65 a share on revenue of $8.15 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

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