The Dow Jones industrial average rose 27 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 16,100, at midday Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose four points, also 0.2 per cent, to 1,806. The Nasdaq composite gained the most — rising 19 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 4,037.
In a sign that workers are in less danger of being laid off, the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 316,000, the Labor Department said. Also, a private survey showed that consumer confidence rose in November.
Hewlett-Packard surged $1.76, or 7 per cent, to $26.85. The world's second-largest maker of PCs forecast a strong profit for the current quarter late Tuesday.