Stocks Opened Higher on Jobs Data

U.S. stocks rose modestly at the open on Thursday  after economic reports included data that cast a brighter-than-thought picture on the U.S. jobs market. The Dow Jones industrial average lately gained 46.85 points, or 0.35 percent, to 13,460.36. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 5.31 points, or 0.37 percent, to 1,438.63. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 9.93 points, or 0.32 percent, to 3,103.63.

The number of Americans who applied last week for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since late July. Initial jobless claims fell by 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 359,000 in the week ended Sept. 22, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a decline to 375,000.

Orders for long-lasting goods sank 13.2% in August after a big drop in bookings for autos and airplanes, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Subtracting transportation, orders fell a much smaller 1.6% in August. On the brighter side, an even more critical number, known as core capital goods, rose 1.1% in August after falling 5.2% in July and 2.7% in June.

The government chopped its estimate of U.S. growth in the second quarter, as consumers and businesses spent and invested less than initially believed. In its third and final review of quarterly growth, the Commerce Department on Thursday said gross domestic product in the April-to-June period increased by 1.3% instead of 1.7% as previously reported.

Economic confidence among the 17 countries that use the euro has fallen to its lowest level in over three years, according to a survey by the European Union’s executive arm. The European Commission said Thursday that its economic sentiment indicator, a broad gauge of confidence, dropped by 1.1 points in September to 85.0 — the lowest level since August 2009, when the eurozone was suffering a deep recession following the banking crisis.

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