) -- The U.S. trade deficit narrowed unexpectedly in October, as a jump in exports helped by a slumping dollar outpaced a smaller rise in imports.

Government statistics released Thursday showed that the trade gap decreased by 7.6% compared to the month prior, landing at a seasonally adjusted $32.9 billion. September's downwardly revised showing was $35.7 billion.

Many economists anticipated the trade gap to widen slightly to $36.8 billion, according to a poll from Thomson Reuters.

The Commerce Department report also noted that exports jumped by $3.5 billion to $136.8 billion, while imports edged higher by $700 million to $169.8 billion.

The nation's trade deficit with China, it's largest based on trading partners, continued increasing in October, widening to its largest gap in a year at $22.7 billion.

The better-than-expected trade gap figure helped boost stocks Thursday, with the

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Dow Jones Industrial Average

up 77 points, or 0.8%, at 10,415. The

S&P 500

added 8 points, or 0.7%, at 1104, as the


gained 14 points, or 0.7%, at 2198.

Elsewhere, jobless claims data from the Labor Department disappointed Thursday morning, as

initial claims ticked higher to 474,000 last week.

--Written by Sung Moss in New York