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TRAFFIC ALERT 295 stopped in both directions at the 11th Street Bridge.

Markets steady as central banks take center stage

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are opening slightly higher after Europe’s main two central banks decided to keep interest rates on hold.

Investors were encouraged by a drop in applications for U.S. unemployment benefits last week. The decline is further evidence that layoffs are easing.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 34 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,478 in early trading Thursday.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose four points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,924. The Nasdaq composite rose 12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,367.

Stratasys Ltd. soared 13 percent in early trading after reporting earnings that were well ahead of what analysts were expecting.

Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.47 percent, near its lowest level of the year.

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