New York -- U.S. markets added to recent gains Thursday after the Department of Labor said 27,000 fewer first-time jobless claims were filed last week.
The weekly employment report took economists by surprise. The consensus forecast was for claims to drop by only 2,000.
The new four-week rolling average for claims came to 477,750, down 9,250 from the week prior.
In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average added 23.69 points, 0.23 percent, to 10,410.70. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 0.49 percent, 5.33 points, to 1,104.20. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.43 percent, 9.63 points, to 2,238.50.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 24/32 to yield 2.739 percent.