Hiring, orders and earnings news lifts stocks

Stocks start higher as unemployment claims plunge and P&G, others report better earnings

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are starting higher on Wall Street after investors finally got some better news on the economy and corporate earnings.

Procter & Gamble led the Dow Jones industrial average higher after the giant consumer products company reported earnings that beat analysts' expectations. It was a welcome change for investors after a slew of large companies turned in poor results over the past two weeks.

The Dow was up 63 points at 13,140 shortly after the opening bell Thursday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up nine at 1,418 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 18 points at 2,999.

Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods jumped 9.9 percent in September, the biggest increase in almost three years, the Commerce Department reported. Applications for unemployment benefits also fell last week.

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