US stocks close higher amid data, earnings

New York: US stocks closed higher as investors digested some key economic data and quarterly corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday increased 137.68 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 28,376.96. The S&P 500 rose 14.23 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 3,205.37, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 59.48 points, or 0.67 per cent, to 8,887.22.

The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits dropped in the week ending December 14, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted initial claims for state unemployment benefits were 234,000, a decrease of 18,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 252,000, according to the department’s report.

The four-week moving average was 225,500, an increase of 1,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 224,000, the report said.

In corporate news, the chip maker Micron Technology reported quarterly earnings that topped analyst expectations.

The company posted GAAP net income of $491 million, or $0.43 per diluted share, and revenue of $5.14 billion.