Investors rally on labor report, stimulus package

NEW YORK — Wall Street scored its second straight big advance Thursday after a report suggested that the job market is holding up and as lawmakers proposed an economic stimulus package that could ease consumer spending concerns.

Investors seeking good news found some in a Labor Department report that said the number of people seeking unemployment benefits last week fell for a fourth straight week.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 108.44, or 0.88 percent, to 12,378.61, following a nearly 300 point surge on Wednesday. Broader stock indicators also rose. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 13.47, or 1.01 percent, to 1,352.07, and the Nasdaq composite index advanced 44.51, or 1.92 percent, to 2,360.92.

Citadel graduate to get CEO job at Milliken & Co.

SPARTANBURG — The retiring chief executive officer of Milliken & Co. will be succeeded by a Citadel graduate, the Upstate-based textile maker and chemical business said Thursday.

Joe Salley, currently chief operating officer, will replace Ashley Allen as president and CEO on May 1.

Salley, 40, majored in chemistry at The Citadel and went on to earn his master's and doctorate degrees in chemical engineering from Stanford University. He joined Milliken in 1994.

Milliken is one of the largest private companies based in South Carolina. It employs about 10,000 workers in 50 locations in seven countries.

Wireless, Internet gains help drive AT&T's profit

SAN ANTONIO — AT&T Inc., the nation's largest telecommunications company, earned $3.1 billion, or 51 cents a share, during the fourth quarter on gains in its wireless business and growth in its broadband Internet sales, the company said Thursday.

During the same period of 2006, AT&T made $1.9 billion, or 50 cents a share, but those results didn't include BellSouth's earnings because AT&T's takeover of that company wasn't completed until final days of the period.

Higher fuel costs propel US Air to quarterly loss

TEMPE, Ariz. — US Airways said Thursday that it posted its first loss in five quarters as the carrier faced significantly higher fuel costs and lower revenue and traffic in the fourth quarter.

The airline owner reported a loss of $79 million, or 87 cents a share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a $12 million profit, or 13 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue slipped slightly to $2.78 billion. US Air is Charleston's second largest carrier by market share.

Nucor earnings off 10% on inventory charge-off

CHARLOTTE — Nucor Corp.'s fourth-quarter profit fell 10 percent to $364.8 million, the steelmaker said Thursday. Revenue grew to $4.4 billion from $3.47 billion last year.

The latest period included a charge of $92.3 million on value inventories, compared with a credit of $39.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2006. Nucor operates a large mill in Berkeley County.

Ford offering retirement, buyout deals to workers

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. said Thursday that it will offer buyouts and early retirement to 54,000 U.S. hourly workers in an effort to cut jobs.

Ford said it had 64,000 workers at the end of last year, down from 99,500 at the end of 2005.