RTTNews - Stocks moved higher at the start of trading on Thursday, with the major averages all moving into positive territory after ending the previous session mixed. The initial strength reflected a positive reaction to the latest employment data.

Before the start of trading, the Labor Department released a report showing that initial jobless claims fell to 565,000 in the week ended July 4th. With the decrease, jobless claims fell below the 600,000 level for the first time since January.

Semiconductor stocks are helping to lead the way higher, while significant strength has also emerged among banking, steel, and housing stocks. On the other hand, healthcare provider stocks are bucking the uptrend.

In the past few minutes, the major averages have pulled back off their highs for the young session, although they remain firmly positive. The Dow is currently up 39.45 at 8,217.86, the Nasdaq is up 12.15 at 1,759.32 and the S&P 500 is up 5.66 at 885.22.

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