The U.S. stock market is higher in midday trading as investors received more encouraging news on the economy. The slight gains come a day after the Federal Reserve signaled that it's in no rush to raise interest rates.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index is up 7 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,009 Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average is rising 89 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,246. The Nasdaq composite is climbing 22 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,584.
Fewer Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, according to the Labor Department. Weekly applications fell 36,000 to 280,000, well below economists' forecasts.
Scotland opened polling stations for a referendum on whether the country will leave the United Kingdom and become independent.