Stocks Opened Higher After Jobless Claims Data

U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday after the report showed jobless claims in US decreased for the first time in four weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 46.47 points, or 0.26%, to 18,096.64, while the S&P 500 was up 12.84 points, or 0.61%, to 2,120.24 and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 41.09 points, 0.81%, to 5,140.03.

The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits fell sharply in the seven days ended July 11. Initial jobless claims in the period running from July 5 to July 11 declined by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 281,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Goldman Sachs said on Thursday its profit nearly halved in the second quarter as it wrestled with choppy markets and had to put aside more money to deal with investigations stemming from the financial crisis. The bank earned $1 billion, or $1.98 a share, down from $2 billion, or $4.10 a share a year ago.

Citigroup Inc, the third biggest U.S. bank by assets, reported its highest quarterly profit in eight years as restructuring and cost cuts paid off and legal expenses plunged. Citi’s net income rose to $4.85 billion, or $1.51 per share, in the quarter ended June 30 from $181 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier, when the bank was hit by a $3.8 billion legal charge.

The European Central Bank on Thursday expanded the emergency line of credit for Greek banks, raising it by an amount — 900 million euros, or almost $990 million — meant to meet the banks’ needs for an additional week.

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