US stocks climb in early trading as investors cheer encouraging unemployment data

Markets Associated Press

U.S. stocks climbed in early trading Thursday, snapping a three-day losing streak. Investors sized up the latest batch of corporate earnings and applauded a government report indicating that applications for unemployment benefits fell to a 15-year low last week. Technology companies rose the most.

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KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 127 points, or 0.7 percent, to 18,188 as of 10:06 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 10 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,108. The Nasdaq composite added 22 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,004.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: The Labor Department said that fewer people applied for unemployment aid last week, pushing the four-week average down to its lowest level since April 2000. Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the very low level is evidence that Americans are enjoying more job security. It is also a sign employers are confident enough in the economy to hold on to their employees, despite signs of sluggish growth.

SECTOR MONIOR: Nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 moved higher. Technology stocks led the pack. Consumer discretionary stocks declined.

TASTY SHAKES: Shares in Shake Shack jumped 7.3 percent a day after the burger chain raised its outlook for revenue for the year. The stock added $4.86 to $73.22.

SALES SLUMP: Kohl's dropped 9.6 percent after the retailer reported that its first-quarter revenue and a key sales measure fell short of Wall Street forecasts, even as the company posted a better-than-expected profit for the quarter. The stock lost $6.81 to $67.70.

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MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, trading levels were low as many traders observed the Ascension Day holiday. France's CAC 40 was up 0.9 percent, while Germany's DAX added 1.1 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 inched up 0.1 percent. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 1 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.1 percent. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.1 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 28 cents to $60.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.24 percent from 2.29 percent late Wednesday.