Stocks Opened Higher after Upbeat Economic Data

U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, as weekly jobless claims illustrated ongoing improvement in the labor market. Solid
economic figures out of China and Europe also helped lift the mood. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately added 38.68
points, or 0.26%, to 14,936.23. The S&P 500 index gained 8.88 points, or 0.54%, to 1,651.68. The Nasdaq Composite climbed
28.35 points, or 0.79%, to 3,628.14.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week but held close to a six-year low and gave a
positive signal for hiring during the month. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed 13,000 to 336,000, Labor
Department data showed on Thursday.

U.S. manufacturing activity hit a five-month high in August as hiring picked up and new orders increased at their fastest pace
since January, an industry report showed on Thursday. Financial data firm Markit said its “flash,” or preliminary, U.S.
Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 53.9, its best showing since March, and just below economists’ forecast of
54.0. The index stood at 53.7 in July. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

A survey from HSBC provided further evidence that China, the world’s second-largest economy, may be over its recent soft
patch. Its monthly purchasing managers’ index — a gauge of business activity — rose to 50.1 points for August from July’s
47.7. Numbers above 50 indicate an expansion in activity.

The monthly composite PMI, which includes both manufacturing and services, for the 17-country eurozone rose to 51.7 in August from 50.4. The index, published by financial information company Markit, is now at its highest level since June 2011 and provides further evidence that the eurozone recovery from recession is gathering pace.

Sears’ second-quarter loss widened as the number of stores in operation declined and it dealt with lingering effects from its
spinoff of the Hometown and Outlet brand. For the period ended Aug. 3, Sears Holdings Corp. lost $194 million, or $1.83 per
share. That compares with a loss of $132 million, or $1.25 per share, a year earlier. Revenue declined 6 percent to $8.87
billion from $9.47 billion.

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