Stocks Opened Slightly Higher after Jobless Claims Data

U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday as investors balanced a pair of stronger-than-expected employment reports against the implications of the U.K.s vote to leave the European Union. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately added 55.40 points, or 0.31%, to 17,974.02. The S&P 500 gained 8.52 points, or 0.41%, to 2,108.25. The Nasdaq Composite was up 28.19 points, or 0.58%, to 4,887.35.

Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, a sign that U.S. workers still have job security despite recent tremors in the global economy. The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 16,000 last week to a nearly three-month low of 254,000.

U.S. private payrolls increased more than expected in June. The ADP National Employment Report showed private employers hired 172,000 workers in June, beating market expectations for a 159,000 gain. Private payrolls rose 168,000 in May.

France’s Danone said on Thursday it would double the size of its U.S. business by buying organic foods producer WhiteWave Foods Co in a deal worth $12.5 billion, including some $2.1 billion of debt and “other” liabilities.

PepsiCo released its second quarter earnings results Thursday morning, reporting $15.395 billion in revenue and $2.01 billion, or $1.38 per share, in net income.

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