Stocks move higher as unemployment claims drop

NEW YORK (AP) ? Stocks are rising on Wall Street on signs of strength in the U.S. job market, but continuing uncertainty about Greece’s debt problems kept the gains in check.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 86 points to 12,867 shortly before noon Thursday, erasing a pre-market decline caused by fears that Greece’s latest bailout package could fall apart.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 8 points at 1,351 and the Nasdaq composite was up 16 points at 2,931.

The Labor Department said weekly applications for unemployment benefits dropped for the fourth time in five weeks to the lowest point since March 2008. General Motors rose 6 percent, boosted by news that its income hit a record in 2011.