NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks rose modestly at midafternoon, extending the previous session's gains despite government reports showing factory orders and worker demand strong but not at inflationary levels.

At noon on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 13.50 points at 8,029.00, remaining above the 8,000 mark after topping it Wednesday for the first time since Aug. 20.

Advancing issues outnumbered advancers by a 7-to-6 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 194.40 million shares, well below Wednesday's level as many traders took the Rosh Hashanah holiday off.

The government report showed August orders to U.S. factories posting their third straight gain. Manufacturing orders jumped 1.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted $335.4 billion after gains of 0.5 percent in July and 1.7 percent in June, the Commerce Department said today.

But manufacturing gains, though healthy, were led by electronics, with overall manufacturing orders moving less rapidly than the overall August number indicated. Moreover, a report Wednesday from the National Association of Purchasing Management showed momentum slowing in manufacturing.

Meanwhile, a separate report showed that new applications for unemployment benefits inched up by 1,000 last week to 308,000 _ a low level that reflects continuing demand for workers.

Only five of the 30 Dow industrial issues moved more than a point, with Disney, up 1 13/16 at 83 13/16, leading gainers. Jet engine maker United Technologies, down 1 3/16 at 80, led decliners.

The Standard & Poor's 500 list was up 2.80 at 958.21.

The NYSE composite index was up 1.00 at 502.08.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index was up 6.89 at 1,697.19, retaining its strength after WorldCom helped boost the market Wednesday with its surprise bid for MCI Communications.

The American Stock Exchange composite index was up 0.96 at 704.23.

On Wednesday, stocks rose on September economic data that suggested low inflation and interest rates could continue. The Dow rose 70.24 to 8,015.50 Wednesday, its first finish above 8,000 since Aug. 20. The blue-chip barometer is now up more than 24 percent in 1997, but still sits about 240 points below its Aug. 6 peak of 8,259.31.

Overseas, Tokyo's Nikkei stock average fell 2.2 percent. Frankfurt's DAX index rose 0.8 percent and London's FT-SE 100 was down 0.4 percent.