US stocks have closed slightly higher after the government reported that the number of people applying for unemployment benefits sank last week, a sign that employers are laying off fewer people.
Hillshire Brands soared 18% after Tyson Foods made a rival bid for the company two days after Pilgrim's Pride made its own offer. Other food company stocks also rose as investors anticipated more deals.
The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 10 points, or 0.5%, to close at 1,920. The S&P 500 is at a record high.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 65 points, or 0.4%, to 16,698. The Nasdaq composite rose 22 points, or 0.5%, to 4,247.
Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.44%.