U.S. stocks advanced in early trade on Thursday after the Department of Labor reported that weekly jobless claims declined last week.

The S&P 500 Index advanced 3.53 points, or 0.29 percent, to trade at 1,232.04 at 9:45 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 7 points, or 0.06 percent, to trade at 11,379.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.36 percent.

The Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims declined by 17,000 to 421,000 for the week ended December 4 from the previous week's revised figure of 438,000, while economists expected 430,000. The 4-week moving average of initial claims declined 4,000 to 427,500 from the previous week's revised average of 431,500.

Early Thursday, U.S. futures and global stocks advanced after Japan said it still remained the second-largest economy in the world after its growth expanded more than the government initially estimated in the third quarter on higher capital spending.

The Cabinet Office’s final GDP report showed growth of 1.1 percent in the third quarter, up from the mark of 0.9 percent in the second quarter. GDP grew at an annualized pace of 4.5 percent in the third quarter, faster than 3.9 percent reported last month.

Athletic-apparel retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc shares surged 15.58 percent as the company’s third-quarter profit rose to $0.36 per share from $0.20 per share a year ago.

U.S. listed ADR's of ASML Holding NV surged 6.94 percent after raising its forecast for fourth-quarter bookings to more than 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion).

The euro declined 0.25 percent to 1.3228 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.23 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures advanced 0.53 percent to $88.75/barrel and gold futures rose 0.60 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading higher with FTSE 100 up by 27.60 points, DAX30 up by 9.79 points and CAC 40 up by 29.68 points.