Stocks Gain after Jobless Claims Data

U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, as investors embraced an unexpected drop in weekly jobless claims. Extending gains into a 10th session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 67.08 points, or 0.46%, to 14,522.36. The S&P 500 index gained 6.67 points, or 0.43%, to 1,561.19. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 13.55 points, or 0.42%, to 3,258.67.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped for a third straight week last week, the latest indication the labor market recovery was gaining traction. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 332,000, the Labor Department said.

Acting on the Senate’s first budget since President Barack Obama took office, a Democratic-led panel is moving toward party-line approval of a fiscal blueprint that would trim the budget deficit while protecting safety net programs from slashing cuts proposed by Republicans.

Regulators have agreed with four of the country’s biggest banks that they will not have to hold shareholder votes at upcoming annual meetings over whether the institutions are too big. The Securities and Exchange Commission rendered its decision in nearly identical letters to JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc and Morgan Stanley that were posted on the agency’s web site on Wednesday.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) kept its top spot for investment banking revenues last year while Citigroup (C.N) and Barclays (BARC.L) showed the biggest improvement compared with 2011, a study showed on Thursday.

Honda Motor Co Ltd <7267.T> will recall nearly 250,000 vehicles globally, including some Acura MDX crossover SUVs, due to braking problems, the automaker said on Thursday.

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