U.S. stocks are edging higher on the last day of the year as weekly unemployment claims fell to the lowest level since July 2008.
The welcome news about unemployment Thursday comes as investors look to wrap up a strong year for the market. Markets are closed Friday.
The Labor Department says claims for unemployment benefits fell by 22,000 to a seasonally adjusted 432,000 last week. Analysts had expected claims would rise.
Trading is expected to be quiet as investors await the arrival of 2010 to draw clues about the direction of the markets.
The Dow Jones industrial average is up 4 at 10,552.52. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index is up 1 at 1,127, and the Nasdaq composite index is up 1 at 2,292.