Stocks Opened Higher after Claims

U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday as investors assessed weekly jobless claims and earnings reports from companies such as Alcoa. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately added 33.56 points, or 0.19%, to 17,936.07. The S&P 500 gained up 3.48 points, or 0.17%, to 2,085.38. The Nasdaq Composite was up 13.92 points, or 0.28%, to 4,964.74.

Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits over the past four weeks than at any time in almost 15 years, signaling underlying strength in the labor market even as hiring cooled last month. From mid-March through the seven days ended April 4, jobless claims averaged 282,250 a week, the lowest since June 2000, a Labor Department report showed Thursday.

LinkedIn LNKD +0.98% is acquiring online education company for $1.5 billion, the professional social network said on Thursday. is based in Carpinteria, CA and offers courses in business, technology and creative skills. Memberships start at $25 per month, according to its website.

The Bank of England kept interest rates at their record low on Thursday as policymakers wait to see whether a tumble in inflation is short-lived or turns into a bigger threat for the British economy.

Shares of Altera Corp. (ALTR) tumbled 10% in premarket trade Thursday, after CNBC reported that Intel Corp. INTC, -0.93% has dropped its plan to buy the semiconductor company.

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