Stocks Rose at Open, Jobless Claims Climbed

U.S. stocks opened slightly higher on Wednesday, working to end 2014 on an upbeat note. The Dow Jones industrial average lately rose 31.72 points, or 0.18%, to 118,014.79, the S&P 500 gained 0.95 points, or 0.05%, to 2,081.30 and the Nasdaq Composite added 8.38 points, or 0.18%, to 4,785.82.

More Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits for the first time in five weeks. Jobless claims rose by 17,000 to 298,000 in the week ended Dec. 27, from a revised 281,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington.

The selloff in oil markets continued Wednesday, as oversupply concerns kept the bearish sentiment entrenched. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in February fell $1.15, or 2.2%, to $52.93 a barrel.

Shares of NephroGenex Inc shot up nearly nine-fold in premarket trading, a day after the drug developer said its lead drug was found to be safe in a cardiac safety study.

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