The Labor Department's report that jobless claims fell more than expected to 550,000 last week is giving investors hopes for an economic rebound.
The prediction from consumer products giant P&G that sales will rebound this fall is also boosting investors' mood.
The Dow Jones industrial average is up 80 at 9,627. It is the highest close for the Dow since November.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index is up 11 at 1,044. The Nasdaq composite index is up 24 at 2,084.
Three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to a relatively low 1.3 billion shares.