Better economic reports, sales send stocks higher

Stocks edge higher in midday trading on encouraging news about jobs and better retail sales

Associated Press
Stocks edge higher after encouraging jobs reports
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In this Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 photo, trader Todd Ingrilli, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Stock futures were mixed, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, in very light trading amid a flurry of reports on jobs, retail sales and the industrial and services sectors. The numbers that roll out Thursday and Friday may determine if or how much the U.S. Federal Reserve pulls back on the asset purchases that have kept international markets flush with cash. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are edging higher on Wall Street after some positive news about the U.S. jobs market and higher sales from major store chains.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 21 points, or 0.1 percent, at 14,952 shortly before noon Thursday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up three points, or 0.2 percent, at 1,656. The Nasdaq composite was up 11 points, or 0.3 percent, at 3,660.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week dropped to a five-year low. Also the payroll company ADP reported that private sector employment rose by 176,000 jobs last month.

Costco and Walgreen's reported stronger sales last month, beating analysts' forecasts.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.98 percent from 2.90 percent late Wednesday.

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