Stocks rise as jobless claims dip, manufacturing index surges

Stocks rose this morning as the federal government reported that the number of people who applied last week for new unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since early 2008 and the Institute for Supply Management said its July manufacturing index surged to a reading of 55.4 percent up from. 50.9 percent in June, the highest level for the index since June 2011.

Initial jobless claims dropped by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000 in the week ended July 27, marking the lowest level in five and a half years, the government said Thursday. 

Stocks moved upward in morning trading as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 127 points to 15,627, the Nasdaq exchange was up 40 to 3,666 and the S&P 500 rose 18 to 1,704, the first time it has eclipsed the 1,700 barrier.

The leading local gainers this morning were Rockwell Automation Inc., up $2.45 to $99.30; Modine Manufacturing Co., up $1.92 to $12.92; Harley-Davidson Inc., up $1.68 to $58.45; and ManpowerGroup Inc., up $1.62 to $68.49.

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