ECONOMY

S&P 500 approaches another record high close; Hewlett-Packard gains on earnings

  • Trader Tommy Kalikas, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. U.S. stocks are opening higher, pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 index closer toward another record high. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    Trader Tommy Kalikas, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. U.S. stocks are opening higher, pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 index closer toward another record high. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)  (The Associated Press)

  • Trader Edward McCarthy, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. U.S. stocks are opening higher, pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 index closer toward another record high. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    Trader Edward McCarthy, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. U.S. stocks are opening higher, pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 index closer toward another record high. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)  (The Associated Press)

  • Czech Tomas Berdych, the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament sixth seed, center, and Fabrizio Sestini, ATP marketing director, right, visit with specialist Glenn Carell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, after Berdych rang the NYSE opening bell, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    Czech Tomas Berdych, the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament sixth seed, center, and Fabrizio Sestini, ATP marketing director, right, visit with specialist Glenn Carell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, after Berdych rang the NYSE opening bell, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)  (The Associated Press)

U.S. stocks are moving mostly higher, pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 index closer toward another record close.

Traders were encouraged by the latest encouraging sign in the U.S. job market, a decline last week in the number of people applying for unemployment benefits.

The S&P 500 rose four points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,990 as of noon Eastern time Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 67 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,045. The Nasdaq composite was flat at 4,526.

Hewlett-Packard rose 5 percent after the company reported its first sales increase in nearly three years.

Sears fell 7 percent after the company reported that its loss doubled in the latest quarter.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.42 percent.