Stocks Opened Higher On ECB Rate Cut, Job Data

U.S. stocks opened  higher on Thursday after the European Central Bank cut interest rates in a surprise move and on data jobless claims fell back below the 400,000 level last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately climbed 61.08 points to 11,897.12. The S&P 500 Index gained 3.83 points to 1,241.73 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 4.60 points to 2,644.58.

The European Central Bank on Thursday cut its key lending rate by a quarter point to 1.25% in the face of deteriorating economic data and persistent market turmoil inspired by Europe’s ongoing debt crisis in the first policy meeting presided over by new ECB President Mario Draghi.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications dropped 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 397,000, the lowest level in five weeks. It’s only the third time since April that applications have fallen below 400,000.

Dutch financial services group ING is to cut 2,700 jobs, it said on Thursday, slashing the headcount at its Dutch retail banking operations by 10 percent in the face of deteriorating markets.

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