U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, with the S&P 500 in recovery mode after its longest-running loss streak in eight weeks, after the government reported fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 87 points higher, led by UnitedHealth Group.
After a three-session drop, the S&P 500 rose, with financials leading gains that included all of its 10 major industry groups. The Nasdaq also climbed.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), a measure of investor uncertainty which has advanced 5.2 percent this week, retreated below 13.
On Wednesday, stocks fell and Treasury yields jumped after minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting had officials generally in agreement that improving economic conditions would pave the way to reduced asset purchases by the Fed in the months ahead.
And, while the jobs data came in better than expected on Thursday, "market participants are still reacting to the Fed minutes indicating that it's not just the jobs market that they are looking at, and they may reduce asset purchases sooner than expected," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones.
"Clearly with the rebound we're seeing this morning, the market is not expecting December," added Warne of the likely month that the central bank will start reducing the scope of its $85 billion in monthly purchases of bonds and mortgaged-backed securities.
After climbing to its highest since September, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note lately held steady at 2.81 percent. The U.S. dollar fell against other global currencies; the price of oil rose and gold costs declined.
For every stock falling, nearly three gained on the New York Stock Exchange, where 175 million shares traded as of 11:05 a.m. Eastern. Composite volume approached 942 million.
"Now that the earlier Californian computer glitches and government-shutdown related factors are moving along investors are starting to get a clearer view on the encouraging influences behind the labor market," Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak, wrote in emailed commentary following weekly data, which had initial jobless claims falling by 21,000 to 323,000 from an upwardly revised 344,000 reading.
Economists had expected initial claims at 335,000.
A separate report had producer prices falling 0.2 percent in October, matching estimates.
A reading of manufacturing activity illustrated a slowdown in the Philadelphia region, with a survey falling 13.3 points to 6.5 in November from the month before, still positive "but stuck in lower gear," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak.
First published November 21 2013, 9:10 AM