Stocks Mostly Close Higher as Jobless Claims Hit a 3-Month Low

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Stocks mostly rose on Thursday, lifting the S&P 500 to a record high, after data showed jobless claims falling to a three-month low ahead of Friday's monthly employment report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed unofficially 61 points higher and the S&P 500 added 3 points to end at 1877.03. The Nasdaq slipped 5 points.

Applications last week for jobless benefits declined to by 26,000 to 323,000, the lowest in three months, while new orders for American factory goods fell 0.7 percent in January.

The euro jumped against the dollar after the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged, with ECB President Mario Draghi indicating the risk of deflation in the euro region had abated as new estimates pointed to inflation nearing targets by the end of 2016.

Oil futures rose 11 cents to $101.56 a barrel and gold added $11.50, or 0.9 percent, to $1,351.80 an ounce. The 10-year Treasury yield used in figuring mortgage rates and other consumer loans rose 3 basis points to 2.734 percent.

Shares of Staples fell 15 percent after the office-supplies chain projected a quarterly drop in sales and said it would shut as many as 225 stores in North America.