Dow Pares Gains; FedEx Rebounds

The Dow pared its gains Thursday as the dollar advanced amid renewed concerns about Greece.

The blue-chip index had opened higher after beats on both Philly Fed and jobless claims and as the CPI report showed inflation was essentially non-existent.

The Dow was up just a few points, led by DuPont and Boeing.

Bank of America and JPMorgan led the Dow's decliners amid worries about financial reform being worked out in Congress right now.

The dollar rose against the euroafter Greece's prime minister warned the government won't be able to make budget cuts unless it can borrow money cheaply. Plus, there's buzz that Greece may soon ask the IMF for financial aid.

This came after the Dow rose for a seventh straight session, closing at its highest level since 2008, as a renewed pledge from the Fed for low rates and a drop in inflation at the producer level helped fuel the market's momentum. Volume has been lower, however, as today and tomorrow brings "quadruple witching," the expiration of four types of options and futures contracts.

The Labor Department said new claims for unemployment insurance fell by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 457,000, slightly beating a consensus estimate of economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

At the same time, the Commerce Department said consumer prices remained flat as the wobbly economy prevented the ability of companies to charge more for their products.

As for the 10am numbers: The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index rose to 18.9, higher than expected, from 17.6 last month. Leading indicators rose for an 11th straight month. And mortgage rates were flat last week, with the 30-year fixed holding below 5 percent.

Shares of Federal Express rebounded after taking quite a hit this morning as investors appeared to "sell the news." The economic bellwether beat on earningsand reported its revenue rose 7 percent.

Nike reported earnings after the bell Wednesday that vastly exceeded Wall Street estimates.

Hand-held gadget maker Palm reports after the closing bell today.

Google shares ticked higher following news that the Internet giant has teamed up with Intel and Sony for "Google TV,"a new platform for bringing the Web to television sets.

And Ford continued to rise, after surging to a five-year highabove $14on Wednesday after Moody's upgraded its debt rating on Ford and said the automaker had potential to improve its finances even further.

Elsewhere, regional bank Sandy Spring Bancorp shares tumbled after a share offering was priced at a discount.

Four Fed speakers — Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth Duke, Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto, Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig, and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker — today backed Chairman Bernanke's defense of the central bank's role in regulating small banks amid a clause in Congress' financial-reform bill that would shift that responsibility to other regulators.

Bernanke had said the insight they gleaned from that role helped shape monetary policy. Today, the Fed members said ending that role would cut a link between the central bank and the nation's heartland.

Still to Come:

THURSDAY: March Madness begins; Earnings from Palm after the bell
FRIDAY: Quadruple witching; S&P index rebalancing

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