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Stocks snap losing streak, close higher

The Associated Press

In this Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, photo, trader Robert McQuade works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Worries about the U.S. economy and a looming budget battle in Washington kept global stock markets in check Thursday Sept. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Upbeat news about jobs and the retail industry is helping stocks snap their longest losing streak of the year.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose six points to close at 1,698. Thursday, the index's first positive day after five consecutive loses. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 55 points to 15,328. The Nasdaq composite climbed 26 points to end at 3,787.

Unemployment claims fell close to their lowest level in six years last week, the government reported Thursday.

A pair of big retailers also delivered encouraging news.

Bed Bath & Beyond rose $3.32, or 5 percent, to $77.54 after its quarterly profit increased 11 percent.

J.C. Penney Co. rose 30 cents, or 3 percent, to $10.42, after the company said it is pleased with its turnaround efforts.