Stocks open higher as US job market improves

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are opening higher on some encouraging news about the U.S. job market.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose five points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,879 in early trading Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 48 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,408. The Nasdaq composite rose 10 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,368.

The number of people who filed for unemployment benefits last week fell much more than economists were expecting. That's a sign fewer workers are being laid off.

Kroger rose 2 percent after the nation's largest supermarket chain reported better sales than investors were expecting.

Staples plunged 11 percent after the office supply chain said it would close 10 percent of its stores because nearly half of its sales are now generated online.

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