Stocks hit record as investors await Twitter

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Stocks opened at record highs Thursday, as investors welcomed solid economic data and a surprise rate cut from the European Central Bank. But all eyes were on the Twitter IPO.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged up to another new record, while the S&P 500 rose above its all-time closing high reached last week. The Nasdaq also gained ground.

Investors and traders were eagerly anticipating Twitter’s debut on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday morning. Twitter priced its initial public offering at $26 a share late Wednesday, raising $1.8 billion.

Upbeat economic data fuels optimism: Investors were encouraged by a report that showed the U.S. economy perked up slightly this summer, driven largely by businesses re-stocking their shelves, a rise in consumer spending, and the ongoing housing recovery.

Gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic activity — rose at a 2.8% annual rate in the third quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That marked the fastest growth in a year and was stronger than economists had anticipated.

A separate report showed initial jobless claims declined for the fourth straight week, falling by 9,000 to 336,000.

ECB unexpectedly cuts rates: In Europe, it’s all about the European Central Bank. The ECB said it cut a key interest rate to 0.25%, a sign of how fragile the European economic recovery is. European stock markets made modest gains in afternoon trading, keeping them near five-year highs.

Earnings continue to roll in: Whole Foods shares sank more than 10% after the organic grocer cut its 2014 earnings and sales forecasts.

Qualcomm shares fell 4% after posting quarterly earnings that fell short of expectations.

Walt Disney, Groupon and Priceline.com are set to report quarterly results after the market close.

J.C. Penney shares jumped after the troubled retailer announced an increase in same-store sales for October.

Tesla shares tumbled again following reports of yet another fire in one of its Model S electric cars.

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