Stocks climb after drop in jobless claims

Stocks are higher in early trading as more data suggest the economy is starting to stabilize.
The Labor Department has reported Thursday that initial claims fell last week by 14,000 to 631,000. Economists predicted an increase.
Continuing jobless claims have jumped to a new record, and the government reported a slightly larger-than-expected drop in personal spending and incomes.
The readings are bolstering investors' growing belief that the U.S. economy is stabilizing. Stocks jumped 2 percent Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said the contraction appears to be slowing.
The Dow Jones industrial average is up 60 at 8,245. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is up 6 at 880, while the Nasdaq composite index is up 18 at 1,730.