Stocks Opened Higher after Jobless Claims

U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday after the report showed that weekly jobless claims fell sharply to lowest since July. The Dow Jones industrial average lately rose 56.90 points, or 0.33%, to 17,213.75. The S&P 500 gained 6.06 points, or 0.30%, to 2,007.63. The Nasdaq Composite added 19.28 points, or 0.42%, to 4,581.47.

Jobless claims dropped in the latest weekly tally, signaling that employers are laying off very few workers, according to government data released Thursday. The number of people who applied for jobless benefits dropped 36,000 to 280,000 in the week that ended Sept. 13, hitting the lowest level since mid-July.

The Fed acknowledged Wednesday that, as the economic recovery slowly builds, the grand experiment is now coming to an end. The Fed’s program of monthly bond purchases is now set to end next month and policymakers are looking ahead to raising interest rates for the first time since 2006.

U.S. home construction plunged in August, led by steep decline in the volatile apartment category. Single-family house construction fell by a modest amount.Construction fell 14.4 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 956,000 homes, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Rite Aid (RAD) slashed its full-year profit outlook, citing expected lower profitability from new generics and generic drugs that lost exclusivity. Rite Aid now expects fiscal 2015 per-share earnings of 22 cents to 33 cents a share, down from a previous forecast of 30 cents to 40 cents. For the fiscal second-quarter, profit came in at $127.8 million, or 13 cents a share, up from $32.8 million, or 3 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $6.5 billion from $6.3 billion last year.

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