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Stocks march forward at open

Technology developments lift markets as trading begins.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks rose at the start of trading Thursday, with investors taking heart from developments in the tech sector.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3%. The Nasdaq composite index gained 0.7%. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was 0.3% higher.

In the news Thursday:

Cisco Systems: Citigroup upgraded the biggest U.S. maker of computer-networking equipment to "Buy' from '"Hold." Stock (CSCO, Fortune 500)

Research in Motion: The BlackBerry maker raised its outlook for fourth-quarter subscriber additions by about 15% to 20%, citing the popularity of smartphones throughout the holiday selling season. Stock (RIMM)

Google: The company will begin storing the medical records of a few thousand people as it tests a long-awaited health service that's likely to raise more concerns about the volume of sensitive information entrusted to the Internet search leader. Stock (GOOG, Fortune 500)

J.C. Penney: The department store retailer said its fourth-quarter profit fell 10% due to a shorter quarter. Stock (JCP, Fortune 500)

British Airways: Passengers face the prospect of major disruptions after the airline's pilots voted for strike action that could effectively ground the airline worldwide. Stock (BAIRY)

Jobless claims: The number of newly laid off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, but the larger-than-expected drop was seen as only a temporary improvement. To top of page

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