Stocks Opened Higher After Draghi Stimulus Comments

U.S. stocks opened tentatively higher on Thursday as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said policy makers will be ready to implement further stimulus measures if needed. The Dow Jones industrial average lately rose 20.20 points, or 0.12%, to 17,504.73. The S&P 500 gained 0.68 point, or 0.03%, to 2,024.25. The Nasdaq Composite added 3.78 points, or 0.08%, to 4,624.51.

Fewer Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, a sign persistent demand is fueling gains in the labor time jobless claims dropped 10,000 to a three-week low of 278,000 in the week ended Nov. 1, the Labor Department reported today in Washington.

The productivity of U.S. workers rose more than projected in the third quarter, helping to contain labor costs even as employment picks up. The measure of employee output per hour increased at a 2 percent annualized rate, after a revised 2.9 percent pace in the prior three months that was stronger than previously estimated, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

The Bank of England on Thursday held the size of its bond-buying program steady and left its key lending rate at a record low of 0.5%, where it has stood since March 2009.

Ann Inc. said results at its Ann Taylor and Loft brands fell short of expectations in the October quarter amid lower mall traffic and a highly promotional retail environment. Ann projected sales for the quarter of $647 million, down from August’s projection of $670 million.

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