RTTNews - With traders reacting positively to the release of some encouraging economic data, stocks are moving mostly higher in late morning trading on Thursday. The Dow and the S&P 500 have moved firmly into positive territory.

The data released over the course of the morning has added to recent indications of stabilization in the economy, with a report from the Labor Department showing the first drop in continuing unemployment claims since the week ended January 3rd.

Health insurance stocks have helped to lead the way higher, driving the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index up 5.1 percent. Healthcare provider, banking, and pharmaceutical stocks have shown notable moves to the upside.

On the other hand, semiconductor stocks are seeing considerable weakness, helping to limit the upside for the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Some weakness also remains visible among retail, housing, and airline stocks.

The major averages currently remain mixed, with the Nasdaq lingering just below the unchanged line. While the Nasdaq is down 2.31 at 1,805.75, the Dow is up 74.22 at 8,571.40 and the S&P 500 is up 7.92 at 918.63.

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