NEW YORK (AP) — A small drop in unemployment claims and signs of economic growth are pushing stocks higher in midday trading.
The Labor Department said first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to 420,000. That's the third drop in four weeks. The Commerce Department said that housing starts rose slightly last month, reversing a two-month decline.
Before the market opened, FedEx Corp. raised its earnings predictions for next year because businesses and consumers are shipping more packages.
The Dow Jones industrial average is up 34, or 0.3 percent, to 11,491. The S&P 500 is up 6, or 0.5 percent, to 1,241. The Nasdaq composite index is up 19, or 0.7 percent, to 2,636.