Stocks Rise, Jobless Claims Drop

U.S. stocks advanced early on Thursday after the economic report showed that U.S. jobless claims fall below 300,000 for third time in five weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 21.77 points, or 0.13%, to 17,000.90. The S&P 500 gained 2.54 points, or 0.13%, to 1,989.05. The Nasdaq Composite added 1.97 points, or 0.04%, to 4,528.46.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly more than expected last week, pointing to a sustained improvement in labor market conditions. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 for the week ended Aug. 16, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

The sales pace of previously owned homes likely held steady last month, staying close to the fastest pace since late 2013, according a consensus forecast. The National Association of Realtors will release the home-sales data at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Shake Shack, the fast-food restaurant chain that has developed a cult following for its ‘Shackburgers’, ‘flat-top’ hot dogs and eponymous shakes, has selected JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) to lead a proposed initial public offering.

Family Dollar Stores Inc. rejected a $9 billion takeover offer from Dollar General Corp., pointing to antitrust concerns and reaffirmed its support for its deal with Dollar Tree Inc.

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