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New York City (AFP) – U.S. stocks Thursday opened higher after a weekly U.S. jobless claims report suggested a brightening employment outlook.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 52.59 (0.34 percent) to 15,325.85.

The broad-based S&P 500 tacked on 6.00 (0.35 percent) at 1,698.77, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index increased 19.29 (0.51 percent) to 3,780.39.

U.S. stocks have been in retreat due to an acrimonious budget debate in Washington that has raised the prospect of a government shutdown at the end of the month.

Thursday’s initial jobless claims report totalled 305,000 in the week ending September 21, down from 310,000 the prior week.

The Commerce Department also updated its analysis of second-quarter growth, leaving the estimate at an annual rate of 2.5 percent.

Photo Credit: AFP/Spencer Platt

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