Stocks Opened Higher on Jobless Claims Data

U.S. stocks opened higher Thursday, after data had jobless claims falling to a four-year low. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 31.55 points to 13,376.52. The S&P 500 added 7.47 points to 1,440.03. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 18.72 pionts to 3,070.50.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to the lowest level in more than four and a half years, according government data on Thursday that suggested improvement in the labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 30,000 to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the Labor Department said. It was the lowest number of new claims since February 2008.

Google Inc Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt expects more than a billion mobile devices around the world to be running its Android software within a year, intensifying a battle with Apple Inc that he called a “defining fight” of the industry.

U.S. foreclosure filings dropped to a five-year low in September as fewer homes were on track to be seized by lenders. On a national level, overall foreclosure filings last month — including home repossessions — fell 7 percent from August and 16 percent from September 2011. There were 180,427 foreclosure filings reported for September, the fewest since July 2007 in the midst the housing market bust.

The IMF on Thursday backed giving debt-burdened Greece and Spain more time to reduce their budget deficits, cautioning that cutting too far, too fast would do more harm than good.

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