U.S. stocks opened modestly higher Thursday as investors digested a report showing a weekly rise in jobless claims. The Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 0.4% soon after the opening bell, while the S&P 500

rose 0.2% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite

gained less than 0.1%, according to FactSet data, at last check. The U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday that initial jobless claims rose by 21,000 to 211,000 during the week ending March 4. That was the highest total since late December. Investors have been watching the labor market for signs of potential weakening as the Federal Reserve keeps raising interest rates to cool the economy in its effort to combat high inflation.

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