Stocks open higher on jobs, JPMorgan earnings

    NEW YORK (AP) ? Stocks are edging higher after the government reported a decline in the number of people seeking unemployment benefits and as JPMorgan Chase announced strong earnings.

    JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 4 percent after the bank reported that higher investment banking fees raised its net income beyond analyst expectations.

    The Labor Department reported applications for unemployment benefits fell to a three-month low last week, a sign that companies are laying off fewer workers. At 405,000, the figure is still above the 375,000 that signals healthy job growth.

    The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is up 3 points, or 0.2 percent, at 1,320 in early trading Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average is up 8, or 0.1 percent, at 12,500. The Nasdaq composite is up 6, or 0.2 percent, at 2,802.