Stocks Opened Higher after Economic Reports

U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, as investors digested a slew of mixed economic reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately added 160.94 points, or 0.91%, to 17,796.33. The S&P 500 gained 18.09 points, or 0.89%, to 2,058.33. The Nasdaq Composite was up 28.00 points, or 0.58%, to 4,877.94.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits declined more than forecast last week, returning to a level that’s consistent with an improving labor market. Initial jobless claims dropped 36,000 to a three-week low of 289,000 in the period ended March 7 from a revised 325,000 in the prior week, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington.

Record cold in parts of the U.S. chilled retail sales in February as the world’s largest economy began the year on weak footing. Purchases unexpectedly dropped 0.6 percent, a third consecutive decline, Commerce Department figures showed Thursday in Washington.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) is investing $200 million in photo-messaging app Snapchat, a source familiar with the deal said, striking its latest Silicon Valley deal as the Chinese ecommerce company builds up mobile services.

Intel Corp.’s stock (INTC) dropped 3.4% in premarket trade Thursday, after the semiconductor maker warned that first-quarter sales would be below its previous outlook. The company now expects revenue of $12.8 billion, plus or minus $300 million, compared with its previous forecast of $13.7 billion, plus or minus $500 million.

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