Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, after the release of mixed U.S. ecomomic reports, while comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi supported sentiment.
During early U.S. trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.22%, the S&P 500 index added 0.11%, while the Nasdaq Composite index edged up 0.09%.
The U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits fell by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 last week, compared to expectations for an increase of 8,000 to 355,000.
A separate report showed that the U.S. trade deficit widened to a seasonally adjusted USD44.5 billion in January from a deficit of USD38.1 billion the previous month.
Meanwhile, speaking at the ECB's post-policy meeting press conference, Draghi said monetary policy will remain firmly accommodative and added that confidence was returning to financial markets.
Among earnings, Smithfield Foods surged 6.05% after the pork producer posted quarterly results that topped market expectations, thanks to higher sales of its packaged products.
Financial stocks added to gains, as shares in Goldman Sachs climbed 0.47% and JP Morgan rose 0.30%, while Bank of America jumped 0.92%. Citigroup underperformed on the other hand, slipping 0.16%.
In company news, Bloomberg reported that Time Warner will spin off its magazine business later this year, turning the nine-decade-old publisher of Time, People and Sports Illustrated into a separate publicly held company.
The report sent Time Warner shares up 1.91%.
Elsewhere, Johnson Controls rose 0.37% as the auto-parts maker was said to be exploring a potential sale of its automotive electronics business, but has no "current intention" to sell its automotive interiors unit.
On the downside, Dell shares dipped 0.05%, following reports investor Carl Icahn built a stake of around 100 million shares in the personal computer maker and wants it to conduct a leveraged recapitalization, complicating founder Michael Dell's effort to take the company private.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.36%, France's CAC 40 advanced 0.39%, Germany's DAX added 0.19%, while Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.34%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dipped 0.03%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index added 0.3%.
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