Stocks climb after jobless claims drop sharply

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are extending a rally into a third day as investors welcome a report that first-time jobless claims fell more than expected last week.

Mixed reports Thursday from retailers on June sales results have helped boost some individual stocks, but did not widely affect the market.

The Labor Department says initial jobless claims fell to their lowest level since early May. Claims fell to a seasonally adjusted 454,000 last week, better than the 465,000 economists had forecast.

The Dow Jones industrial average is up 56.38, or 0.6 percent, at 10,074.21. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is up 5.59, or 0.5 percent, at 1,065.86, while the Nasdaq composite index is up 13.39, or 0.6 percent, at 2,172.86.

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