NEW YORK -- Encouraging news on the labor market and efforts to get more Democrats to support the compromise on extending tax cuts have stocks edging higher in early trading.
Before the market opened Thursday morning, the Labor Department reported that first time claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the second-lowest level this year. Claims fell to 421,000, below the 428,000 figure that Wall Street expected.
The four-week average of claims also slid for the fifth straight week, reaching the lowest level since August 2008, before the darkest days of the financial crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average is up 13 points, or 0.1, to 11,385. The broader S&P 500 index is up 4, or 0.4, to 1,232. The Nasdaq composite index is up 10, or 0.4, to 2,619.