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Upbeat economic news helps S&P 500 snap longest losing streak of year

  • Unemployment-Benefits-48

    FILE - In this Wednesday, July 31, 2013, file photo, Americorps volunteer John Harris III, who is helping to coordinate a jobs fair program, fill up some documents for job seekers in Washington. The Labor Department reports on the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits for the third week of September on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Wall-Street-Premarket-166

    In this Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, photo, trader Robert McQuade works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Worries about the U.S. economy and a looming budget battle in Washington kept global stock markets in check Thursday Sept. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Economy-GDP-14

    In this Wednesday, May 8, 2013, file photo, Jeff Caldwell, 29, right, a chassis assembly line supervisor, checks a vehicle on the assembly line at the Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit. The government issues its third and final estimate of economic growth in the April-June quarter on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK — Upbeat news about jobs and the retail industry has helped stocks snap their longest losing streak of the year.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose three points to close at 1,695 today, the index’s first positive day after five consecutive loses. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 38 points to 15,311. The Nasdaq composite climbed 20 points to end at 3,781.

Unemployment claims fell close to their lowest level in six years last week, the government reported today.

A pair of big retailers also delivered encouraging news.

Bed Bath & Beyond rose $3.25, or 4 percent, to $77.47 after its quarterly profit increased 11 percent.

J.C. Penney Co., whose shares have been tumbling toward 13-year lows on worries about its business, said it is pleased with its turnaround efforts.

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