U.S. stock benchmarks rose Thursday morning, heading for a third straight day of gains, on signs that the the debt-ceiling issue in Washington will be resolved for at least two more months and that relations with China may be thawing. Meanwhile, the Labor Department said weekly initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 38,000, to 326,000, in the week ended Oct. 2. That data comes a day ahead of closely watched September employment report, which could be a catalyst for markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average [: DJIA] rose by about 356 points, or 1.1%, to 34,781, the S&P 500 index advanced 0.9% at 4,404, while the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 1% to 14,655. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader and Kentucky Republican, effectively ended worries – for now – around the debt ceiling by announcing that Republicans would not filibuster an increase. Separately, U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will meet virtually before the end of the year, according to reports.