Stocks Climb at Open after Claims Drop

U.S. stocks leapt at Thursday’s start after a surprising fall in jobless claims curbed worries about the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 72.28 points to 10,792.22. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 8.45 points to 1,129.21. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 21.79 points to 2,402.84.

Applications for unemployment aid dropped by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 395,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Applications had been above 400,000 for the previous 17 weeks.

The deficit rose 4.4 percent to $53.1 billion in June, the largest imbalance since October 2008, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Imports fell 0.8 percent to $223.9 billion as crude oil prices fell for the first time in nine months. Exports dropped 2.3 percent to $170.9 billion, the biggest decline in more than two years.

The European Union’s markets supervisor says European regulators are increasing surveillance of financial markets following several days of steep selloffs.

Kohl’s Corp. reported that profit rose 17 percent in the second quarter despite the uncertain economy, in large part due to the success of its s Revenue was up almost 4 percent to $4.25 billion, but was below the $4.32 billion analysts were expecting.

Bank of America Corp has held exploratory talks with the principal investment funds of Kuwait and Qatar about selling part of its $17 billion stake in China Construction Bank, three sources with direct knowledge of the talks told Reuters.

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