Stocks Opened Higher after Economic Data

U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, as a round of U.S. data offered an upbeat picture of the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately gained 64.44 points, or 0.35%, to 18,560.10. The S&P 500 added 5.26 points, or 0.24%, to 2,180.75. The Nasdaq Composite rose 17.37 points, or 0.33%, to 5,221.96.

The number of people filing for unemployment benefits declined 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 266,000 in the August 6 week, the
Labor Department said Thursday. Initial claims have been below the key 300,000 threshold for 75 weeks in a row, the longest such streak since 1970.

Aug 11 U.S. import prices unexpectedly rose in July as a drop in petroleum prices was offset by gains in the cost of other goods, but renewed dollar strength will likely dampen underlying inflation in the coming months. The Labor Department said on Thursday that import prices edged up 0.1 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.6 percent increase in June.

Macy’s Inc. (M) reported second-quarter earnings that beat estimates and announced 100 store closures. Net income totaled $11 million, or 3 cents per share, down from $217 million, or 64 cents per share, for the same period last year.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. reported revenue and earnings that easily topped expectations in the most recent quarter as the Chinese e-commerce giant continued to add users and drive mobile sales. For the June quarter, Alibaba reported 434 million annual active buyers, up 18% from a year earlier.

Crude prices extended losses Thursday after the International Energy Agency cut its forecast for an increase in global oil demand next year and warned that a “massive overhang” of stock is keeping pressure on the commodity. Light, sweet crude futures for delivery in September traded at $41.35 a barrel, down 36 cents, or 0.8%. October. Brent crude fell 28 cents, or 0.6%, to $43.77 a barrel.

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