Stocks Opened Slightly Higher on Earnings

U.S. stocks opened slightly higher on Thursday, boosted by better-than-expected earnings results from Wal-Mart Stores Inc.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 55.49 points, or 0.32% to 17,667.69. The S&P 500 added 3.87 points, or 0.19%,  to 2,042.12. The Nasdaq Composite gained 20.17 points, or 0.43%, to 4,695.30.

Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose more than forecast last week, representing a pause from a recent run of readings close to a 14-year low. Jobless claims increased by 12,000 to 290,000 in the week ended Nov. 8, the highest since Sept. 20, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

Wal-Mart reported Thursday morning that it grew its comparable store sales for the first time in seven quarters. Wal-Mart reported $118.1 billion in third quarter revenue, a sales figure that rose 2.8% compared to the year-ago quarter. Net income for the quarter came in at $3.7 billion, down 0.7% compared to the prior-year period.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) said it would buy Procter & Gamble Co’s (PG.N) Duracell battery business in exchange for its $4.7 billion stake in the world’s No. 1 household products maker.

Brent crude dropped to a four-year low amid signs OPEC won’t cut output and energy producers. Brent oil slid 1.6 percent to $79.10 a barrel at 8:45 a.m. in New York.

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