Stocks opened higher on Thursday as The Dow Jones Industrial Average fought to end a two-day slide after data showed the number of Americans applying for jobless benefits fell to a 17-year low. The S&P 500 index climbed 5 points, or 0.2%, to 2,343. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 18 points, or 0.1%, to 20,423, as a post-earnings drop in shares of Verizon Communications Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. caused the benchmark to lag its peers. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 25 points, or 0.4%, to 5,887. Shares of Philip Morris International Inc. declined after the company's first-quarter profit fell short of expectations. EBay Inc. shares fell after the online retailer delivered earnings and forward guidance that were largely in-line with expectations.
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