Stocks rise following encouraging jobs news

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged higher on a day of encouraging news from the labor market.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 316,000, the Labor Department said Wednesday, a sign that workers are in less danger of being laid off.

Hewlett-Packard rose in early trading it posted net income of $1.4 billion for its fiscal fourth quarter. The world's second-largest maker of PCs also issued a strong profit prediction for the current quarter.

The stock market is trading at record levels as the Federal Reserve's easy money policies have kept interest rates low. Bond yields close to historical lows are also boosting demand for stocks.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed four points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,807. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,099.

The Nasdaq composite, which closed above 4,000 for the first time in 13 years Tuesday, also rose. The index advanced 16 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,033.

Gains in the S&P 500 were led by the technology sector as HP's stock rose $2.16, or 8.6 percent, to $27.25.

Trading volumes were lower than average ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday when the stock market will be closed. The markets will close at 1 p.m. on Friday.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.72 percent from 2.71 percent on Tuesday.

The price of oil fell as a U.S. report on crude supplies pointed to a surprisingly high increase last week. If confirmed, it would be the 10th consecutive week of rising crude stocks. Oil dropped $1.17, or 1.3 percent, to $92.44 a barrel.

Gold rose $7.50, or 0.6 percent, to $1,248.90 an ounce.

Among other stocks making big moves;

— Analog Devices fell $2.92, or 5.8 percent, to $47.01 after the company reported sales late Tuesday that fell below Wall Street estimates. The Norwood, Mass., company warned that it expects a seasonal slowdown to hurt revenue during the holiday season and its shares fell in afterhours trading.