- U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, after data showed that the U.S. economy slowed in the last quarter, while the U.S. jobless claims declined far more than expected last week.

During early U.S. trade, the Dow 30 added 0.19%, the S&P 500 rose 0.26%, while the NASDAQ Composite advanced 0.32%.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that U.S. gross domestic product contracted 1.0% in the first quarter, after the preliminary estimate showed growth of 0.1%. Market expectations had been for a 0.5% contraction. It was the first decline in U.S. GDP since the first quarter of 2011.

However the report also indicated that economic activity has since rebounded. Consumer spending, which makes up more than two-thirds of economic activity, increased by 3.1%, up from the preliminary estimate of 3.0%.

Separately, the Department of Labor said the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week fell by 27,000 to 300,000, compared to expectations for a decline of 9,000.

Shares in Hillshire Brands (NYSE:HSH) soared 15.63% after Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN), up 4.96%, offered to acquire the meat producer for $50 a share.

In the tech sector, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) jumped 0.97% agreeing to buy Beats Electronics LLC for $3 billion, its biggest-ever acquisition, in a move to boost growth.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) rose 0.20% as General Motors (NYSE:GM) said the company could become a "serious competitive threat" to the auto industry if it continues to push its self-driving cars. GM is currently developing its own autonomous vehicle technology.

Among insurance companies, American International Group (NYSE:AIG) gained 0.41% after announcing its intention to shift workers to locations including the Philippines and Texas to reduce costs.

Elsewhere, Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) added 0.32% as the warehouse-club chain posted fiscal third-quarter profit below analysts’ estimates but said comparable sales climbed 6%.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 eased up 0.06%, France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.10%, Germany''s DAX edged 0.07% lower, while Britain''s FTSE 100 gained 0.36%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng slid 0.30%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged up 0.07%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release data on pending home sales.

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