New retail, jobs data power stocks

Trader Fred Demarco works on the floor of

Trader Fred Demarco works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday. The oil price fell $3.75, or 4.1 percent, on Wednesday, its biggest decline since May 4 amid concerns over the global economy. (Oct. 3, 2012) (Credit: AP)

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An encouraging report on the labor market and better sales from Costco and other retail stores helped push the stock market higher Thursday.

The government said that 367,000 Americans sought unemployment benefits for the first time last week. That's an increase from the previous week, but fewer than economists had forecast.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 80.75 points to close at 13,575.36.

"It's not just the jobless claims numbers on their own," said Brian Gendreau, market strategist at Cetera Financial Group. "They're coming on the back of . . . manufacturing and service-sector reports that were better than people expected this week."

The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 0.72 percent to 1,461.40. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.45 percent to 3,149.46.

The job-market report helped drive the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note up to 1.68 percent from 1.62 percent late Wednesday. Traders tend to sell Treasurys following better economic news.

The Commerce Department said that orders to U.S. factories came in better than forecasts, even though the 5.2 percent drop in orders was the biggest in more than three years.

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