* Dow coming off record close, on track for 6th straight
* Jobless claims fall more than expected in latest week
* T-Mobile rises, sources say SoftBank in talks to buy
* Indexes up: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.3 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Dec 26 U.S. stocks rose on Thursday,
putting the Dow on track for a sixth straight day of gains,
although trading was expected to be light following the
In a positive sign for economic growth, initial jobless
claims dropped by 42,000 in the latest week, dropping to
338,000. Analysts had expected 345,000.
Thursday is the first full day of trading since Monday,
following an early close on Tuesday and Wednesday's Christmas
holiday. Volume has been anemic this week with many traders
away, a fact that could amplify market volatility.
Nevertheless, markets' recent upward bias continued, with
the Dow on track for its longest winning streak since March.
Both the Dow and S&P 500 closed at record highs on Tuesday.
"There's nothing to drive markets decisively higher other
than continued momentum, but I don't see that stopping. It has
been a long time since we've had such an absence of headwinds,"
said Pete Benson, partner of Beacon Capital Management.
Among the most active stocks was T-Mobile US Inc,
which rose 1 percent to $32.52 after sources close to the matter
told Reuters that Japan's SoftBank Corp was in talks to
buy the company.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 60.72 points,
or 0.37 percent, at 16,418.27. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 4.68 points, or 0.26 percent, at 1,838.00. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 10.60 points, or 0.26
percent, at 4,166.02.
The S&P 500 has soared almost 29 percent this year, largely
due to stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The index is on
track for its best year since 1997. The Dow is up 25.2 percent
in 2013 while the Nasdaq has jumped about 38 percent.
United Parcel Service on Tuesday said poor weather
and a high volume of holiday packages delayed the arrival of
Christmas presents around the world. Amazon.com Inc
offered compensation to affected customers with shipping refunds
and $20 gift cards.
Shares of UPS dipped 0.3 percent to $104.14 while Amazon was
In another black eye for the retail industry, the hackers
who attacked Target Corp and compromised up to 40
million credit cards and debit cards also managed to steal
encrypted personal identification numbers, a senior payments
executive told Reuters. Shares of the department store chain
rose 0.8 percent to $62.21.