U.S. stocks posted early gains Thursday after the Labor Department said 23,000 fewer first-time unemployment benefit claims were filed in the week.
Some of the drop can be attributed to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, but the effects of the mega-storm, which hit New York and New Jersey in late October, have to be a smaller part of the picture each week.
Regardless, initial jobless benefits claims for the week fell to 393,000, dropping closer to the 369,000 figure posted just before the hurricane hit.
In midmorning trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 50.67 points, or 0.39 percent, to 13,035.78.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq index added 21.31 points, or 0.71 percent, to 1,313.08. The Standard & Poor's 500 was up 7.52 points, or 0.53 percent, to 1,417.45.
The 10-year treasury note fell 3/32 to yield 1.641 percent.
The euro rose to $1.2978 from Wednesday's $1.2953. The dollar rose to 82.15 yen from 82.08 yen.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.99 percent, 92.53 points, to 9,400.88.