RTTNews - Stocks moved higher at the start of trading on Thursday, with the major averages moving back to the upside after trending lower in the past few sessions. The initial strength came as some traders looked to pick up stocks at reduced levels.

After seeing considerable weakness earlier this week, banking stocks are helping to lead the way back to the upside. While metal, networking, and biotech stocks have also seen early strength, buying interest has remained somewhat subdued.

Some traders may be staying on the sidelines ahead of the release of the Labor Department's monthly employment report on Friday.

Before the start of trading, the Labor Department released its report on initial jobless claims in the week ended August 29th, showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for unemployment benefits.

The report showed that jobless claims edged down to 570,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 574,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to slip to 564,000 from the 570,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Jobless claims have stabilized in recent weeks, holding well off the highs set in the Spring but still at a relatively high level indicating continued weakness in the labor market.

Also on the economic front today, the Institute for Supply Management is scheduled to release the results of its service sector survey shortly at 10 am ET. The service sector index is expected show a reading of 48.0 for August after falling to 46.4 in July.

Shares of Ciena (CIEN) are seeing some strength in early trading after the networking equipment provider reported a narrower than expected adjusted third quarter loss on sales that fell by less than analysts had been anticipating.

In the past few minutes, the major averages have edged down off their highs for the young session, although they currently remain in positive territory. The Dow is currently up 36.35 at 9,317.02, the Nasdaq is up 7.57 at 1,974.64 and the S&P 500 is up 5.05 at 999.80.

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