Stocks rise on Wall Street as unemployment claims fall to lowest since September; GM advances


NEW YORK — Some encouraging news on the U.S. job market is sending stocks higher on Wall Street.

First-time applications for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest since September. The number of applications, a proxy for how many workers are being laid off, is near where it was before the Great Recession.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 10 points, or 0.6 percent, at 1,791 as of noon today. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 85 points, or 0.5 percent, to 15,986. The Nasdaq composite rose 33 points, or 0.9 percent, to 3,954.

General Motors rose 3 percent after the government said it will sell the rest of its stake in the company by the end of the year. Target fell 4 percent after reporting a plunge in net income.