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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on December 9, 2011 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Spencer Platt/AFP/Getty Images)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on December 9, 2011 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Spencer Platt/AFP/Getty Images)

At the open: Stocks higher on positive U.S. data Add to ...

Stocks were up Thursday morning on news that the U.S. economy is showing signs of life.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX was up 76.11 points, or 0.70 per cent to 11,619.16.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 109.89 points to 11,933.37, the Nasdaq composite index was up 24.88 points to 2,564.19 while the S&P 500 index rose 11.49 points to 1,223.31.

Markets reacted positively to news from the U.S. Labor Department that jobless claims dropped by 19,000 to 366,000 in the week ended Dec. 10, the fewest since May 2008. Also, manufacturing in the New York region expanded beyond expectations to the highest level in seven months in December, thanks to increased employment numbers and higher order volumes.

Major European indices were up between 1 per cent and 2 per cent on news that Spain sold €6-billion of bonds, exceeding a €3.5-billion target.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.62 of a cent to 96.81 cents (U.S.).

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