NEW YORK -- Stocks are opening higher after the government reported that the number of claims for unemployment benefits remained at a level consistent with modest job growth.
The four-week average of unemployment claims fell to a three-and-a-half-year low of 375,000, an indication that hiring could pick up.
The Dow Jones industrial average is up 55 points at 12,206 in the first minutes of trading Thursday. The S&P 500 is up 5 at 1,256. The Nasdaq is up 6 at 2,596.
Europe's debt woes were still weighing on markets. The euro fell to its lowest level against the dollar this year and a decade-low against the Japanese yen.