US stocks rise slightly at opening bell

U.S. stocks are up slightly after a weekly report showed a drop in the number of people seeking unemployment benefits.

A few minutes after the opening bell, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 13 points to 12,730. The broader S&P 500 index rose 2 points to 1,326. The Nasdaq composite rose 6 points to 2,854.

The Labor Department says weekly unemployment applications fell by 12,000, to a seasonally-adjusted 367,000. It’s a sign that companies are cutting fewer jobs and likely stepping up hiring.

Also, retailers are reporting a mixed bag of January sales. Costco Wholesale Corp. and Target Corp. came in better than expected. Macy’s and Dillard’s were among stores falling short.

Stocks in Europe were flat or up very slightly.