Stocks Open Higher After Economic Data

U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday after data showed a decline in weekly jobless claims while consumer spending and incomes improved. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately added 126.29 points, or 0.85%, to 15,036.43. The S&P 500 index advanced 12.00 points, or 0.75%, to 1,615.26. The Nasdaq Composite rose 23.42 points, or 0.69%, to 3,399.64.

The Labor Department said initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 346,000.  The four-week moving average for new claims, which irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 2,750 to 345,750.

In a separate report, the Commerce Department said on Thursday consumer spending increased 0.3 percent last month  after a revised 0.3 percent drop in April. Consumer spending in April was previously reported to have declined 0.2 percent.

Gunmaker Smith & Wesson Holding Corp (SWHC.O) forecast current-quarter results above market estimates, after reporting higher firearms sales in the fourth quarter. Smith & Wesson said on Tuesday that it expects first-quarter profit of  34 to 37 cents per share on sales of $162 million to $167 million.

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