FedEx earns, drop in claims push stocks higher

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NEW YORK (AP) ? Strong earnings from FedEx and a sharp drop in claims for unemployment benefits are sending stocks higher in early trading.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 119 points, or 1 percent, to 11,943 in the first minutes of trading Thursday. The Dow is coming off of three days of declines on worries about Europe’s debt crisis.

FedEx reported that its quarterly income nearly doubled on strong growth in online shopping during the holiday season. FedEx is seen as a bellwether for the economy. Its stock jumped 3.9 percent.

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level since May 2008.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 12 points, or 1 percent, to 1,224. The Nasdaq rose 23, or 0.9 percent, 2,563.