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U.S. stocks rise in final hour of trade as S&P 500 attempts to end 5-day losing streak

U.S. stock indexes were higher in the last hour of trade on Thursday, with the S&P 500 attempting to snap a five-session streak of losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 148 points, or 0.5%, at 33,742. The S&P 500 gained 0.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.3%. The large-cap index kicked off the week deep in the red after recent stronger-than-expected economic data raised fears about further interest rate rises by the Federal Reserve and the chances of a harder economic downturn. Employment data released Thursday showed the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in early December rose slightly to 230,000, which was exactly in line with the Dow Jones estimate. Meanwhile, the number of people already collecting unemployment benefits rose by 62,000 to 1.67 million, the highest reading since February. The weekly numbers pointed to a slow but steady increase in layoffs as the U.S. economy weakens.

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