Here’s what’s shaking:
Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street despite the latest report on unemployment claims that shows an increase of 4,000.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 45 points to 13,436 shortly after the opening bell Thursday.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up six at 1,467 and the Nasdaq composite rose 18 to 3,124.
The Labor Department reported that weekly applications for unemployment benefits edged up. The previous week’s total was revised lower.
Ford rose 2 percent after the company said it would double its quarterly dividend to 10 cents. Ford reinstated its dividend nine months ago after financial difficulties forced it to suspend its dividend five years ago.
The price of oil rose Thursday to above $94 a barrel, propelled by a rebound in China’s trade growth and an encouraging start to the U.S. corporate earnings season.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for February delivery was up $1.04 to $94.14 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slipped 5 cents to end at $93.10 per barrel in New York on Wednesday.
Data released Thursday showed China’s export growth in December more than quadrupled from the previous month’s level to 14 percent. Imports rose 6 percent, after failing to grow at all in November, in a sign of increasing domestic demand.
Analysts also pointed to an 8 percent year-on-year rise in China’s imports of crude oil in December and a 6.8 percent increase for all of 2012. The data was a boost for energy prices, since a pickup in economic activity in the world’s second-largest economy could boost demand for oil.
In the U.S., corporate reporting season began with better-than-expected results. That helped lift stock markets and energy prices followed.
Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was up 89 cents to $112.65 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
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Front page photo courtesy Getty Images
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