Earnings gains drive stocks higher on Wall Street

New York • Earnings gains at major U.S. companies and encouraging economic news pushed U.S. stocks back to record levels Thursday. A drop in claims for unemployment benefits signaled a healthier economy and encouraged investors to buy stocks. Separately, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region grew in July at the fastest pace in more than two years. Among companies reporting second-quarter earnings, Morgan Stanley was one of the standouts, ...

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