U.S. stock benchmarks rose solidly higher Thursday morning, advancing as a parade of big banks released upbeat earnings and data showed a drop in first-time jobless claims to the lowest since the pandemic began and a smaller-than-expected rise in producer prices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.40% traded 406 points, or 1.2%, at 34,784. The S&P 500 index SPX, +1.49% advanced 1% to 4,404, retaking a psychologically signicant level at 4,400, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.56% advanced 0.9% at 14,710. Bank of America Corp. BAC, +2.98% reported profit and revenues that topped expectations as it released $1.1 billion in reserves to its bottom line, driven primarily by asset quality improvements. Shares rose 2.8% in premarket trade. In economic reports, weekly first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week dropped to 293,000 – the first sub-300,000 reading since before the pandemic took hold in early 2020.