U.S. stocks moved higher in Thursday morning trading, following a rise in European stock indexes.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average was up 102 points, or 0.7 percent, to 15,542 at 9:53 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 11 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,762. The Nasdaq composite gained 33 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,044.
EYES ON JOBS: Investors were looking ahead to a key jobs report due out Friday. They are waiting to see if January's employment survey will show that hiring bounced back last month after December, when employers added just 74,000 jobs. That was the fewest in three years and far below the average of 214,000 added in the previous four months. Stock markets have sunk after signs of weaker growth in the United States, Europe and China. Turmoil in developing countries has further spooked investors. The upheaval has renewed doubts about the Federal Reserve's next steps.
EUROPE SOLID: European stock indexes were mostly higher as investors awaited the latest comments from the European Central Bank's top official following its decision to keep interest rates unchanged. Germany's DAX rose 0.8 percent at 9,194 while the CAC-40 in France rose 1 percent to 4,161. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 1 percent higher at 6,526.
ASIA MARKETS: Markets in mainland China remain closed for the Lunar New Year holiday until Friday. The focus shifted to Australia, where both the stock market and Australia's currency jumped after encouraging economic data. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.2 percent to 5,090 and the Australian dollar rose to its highest in more than three weeks after the government reported a surprise trade surplus in December. Economists had been expecting a deficit. Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.2 percent to 14,155 while South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.9 percent to 1,907 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.7 percent to 21,423.
GM DISAPPOINTS: General Motors fell 64 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $34.60 after the automaker reported a fourth-quarter adjusted profit that fell short of Wall Street's expectations. GM said it spent heavily during the quarter to restructure outside the U.S.