A bounce back in Chinese stocks and cautious optmism about Greece lifted U.S. markets on Thursday. Bobbi Rebell reports.
The global rebound from Wednesday's rout extended to the U.S. markets. The sharp bounce back in Chinese stocks and the return to normalcy at the New York Stock Exchange spurred investors to buy stocks across the board. The NYSE recovered from an outage on Wednesday. Investors pooh-poohed weak economic data. The IMF lowered its forecast for U.S. economic growth this year to 2.5 percent from 3.1 percent. And new applications for unemployment benefits climbed to their highest rate since February. That's an early sign that the U.S. economy may be near a plateau, says economist John Dunham. SOUNDBITE: JOHN DUNHAM, MANAGING PARTNER, JOHN DUNHAM & ASSOCIATES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We're now at the peak of the business cycle. And over the next year, year and a half, the business cycle is going to start to turn back into recession. This is what that is telling us." Leading the gainers on the S&P 500: Walgreens Boots Alliance. The U.S.' largest drug store chain hiked its earnings forecast for the full year. Its quarterly profit crushed analysts' forecasts. Also raising its outlook and beating profit estimates: PepsiCo. Revenue from its Americas beverage business rose for only the second time in almost four years, but investors shrugged. Cigna's shares among the S&P's biggest climbers after CNBC tweeted that the health insurer was moving ahead to sign a merger deal with Anthem. And CNBC said, United Health is also interested in bidding for Cigna. Procter & Gamble is selling its beauty business to Coty for $12.5 billion. The fragrance maker will acquire brands such as Wella, Clairol, and Cover Girl. Shares of both companies fell; P&G's did so in heavy trading. Bucking the upward trend - Apple, hitting it's first five-session losing streak since January. The rally in the Chinese markets spurred buying in mining stocks in Europe, leading the markets higher.