New York • Stocks moved higher in early trading Thursday after the government reported that the number of people filing for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in three months. Kroger rose after reporting higher sales at its supermarkets.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose seven points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,881 in the first half-hour of trading. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 75 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,425. The Nasdaq composite increased 12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,370.
FEWER LAYOFFS: The number of people who filed for government unemployment benefits fell by 26,000 last week to 323,000. That was much better than the 337,000 claims economists had expected, according to FactSet, and a sign that fewer people are being laid off.