Stocks Opened Higher on Greek Deal

Stocks open higher on Thursday after Greek leaders clinched a long-stalled deal on reforms and data indicated the U.S. labor market continued to improve. The Dow Jones industrial average lately was up 26.45 points, or 0.21 percent, at 12,910.40. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 1.03 points, or 0.08 percent, at 1,350.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index put on 2.27 points, or 0.08 percent, at 2,918.13.

Greece’s crucial euro130 billion ($173 billion) bailout was in limbo Thursday, after political leaders failed to accept the entire batch of new austerity measures that are demanded by creditors but have fueled outrage in the recession-hit country.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell again last week, the government said Thursday, supplying further proof that the U.S. labor market continues to mend. Jobless claims dropped by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 358,000 in the week ended Feb. 4, the Labor Department said. That’s near a four-year low.

The European Central Bank and the Bank of England are preparing to offer more emergency support to the financial sector and the economy in the hope of softening the impact of the government debt crisis and a looming recession. Analysts expect the Bank of England to say Thursday that it will inject another 50 billion pounds ($79 billion) of new money into an economy that shrank at the end of last year.

California and New York, two big holdout states in a $25 billion mortgage settlement, are expected to join the deal, smoothing the way for an announcement on Thursday, according to a person familiar with the matter.

China’s inflation rate rose in January, which may dash hopes that the country’s central bank will soon take more action to support economic growth there. Consumer prices rose 4.5% over a year ago, China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday, marking a pick-up from a 4.1% inflation rate the month before.

PepsiCo plans to cut 8,700 jobs, or about 3 percent of its workforce, as it seeks to offset high commodity costs and increases investment in advertising and marketing in North America.

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