NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
U.S. stocks edged higher early Thursday, the last trading day of the March quarter, after government data signaled that the new year began with surprisingly strong economic momentum.
At 9:35 a.m. ET, the Nasdaq composite index rose 9.38 points to 1,836.13, narrowing its loss for the year. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 8.30 to 10,434.92, widening its 2002 gain. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.46 to 1,146.14.
Consumers continued to spend through the end of last year, as gross domestic product rose an unexpectedly strong 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter, the government said in its final reading.
Separate economic data showed that number of Americans filling for first-time jobless claims rose by 18,000 to 394,000 last week, its highest level since mid January.
In disappointments, Juniper Networks (JNPR: down $0.22 to $11.70, Research, Estimates)cut its sales outlook for its first quarter as the slump in communications equipment spending continues. Juniper joined BJ Services (BJS: Research, Estimates), the oil driller, which also warned Thursday that it will miss forecasts.
Overseas, Europe's and Asia's markets rose. The dollar slipped against the yen and euro. Treasury securities were flat.
With markets close for Good Friday, Thursday marks the last day of trading for the March quarter.