(Reuters) - Stocks rose early Thursday as stronger labor market and manufacturing data lifted sentiment after three days of losses, while higher quarterly profit from FedEx also boosted equities.

New applications for unemployment insurance fell to a 3-1/2 year low, suggesting a job market recovery was gaining speed, while a gauge of New York state manufacturing activity rose to its highest level since May.

It all speaks to further stabilization and a very positive trend in the U.S. economy, said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Capital in Jersey City, New Jersey.

FedEx Corp shares were up 5.3 percent at $81.36 after the package delivery group, seen as a bellwether of economic activity, reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI gained 125.18 points, or 1.06 percent, to 11,948.66. The S&P 500 .SPX rose 12.05 points, or 0.99 percent, to 1,223.87. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 22.49 points, or 0.89 percent, to 2,561.80.

Spain saw bond yields fall in a well-received auction, raising roughly twice what the government had targeted. Equity markets have lately tracked European bond prices, using them as a gauge of risk appetite.

Novellus Systems Inc jumped 21 percent to $41.98 a day after it agreed to be bought by larger rival Lam Research Corp for $3.3 billion in stock.

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd shares rose more than 20 percent on their New York Stock Exchange debut after pricing at $20 per share Wednesday, above the expected range.