Investing.com - U.S. stocks rose on Thursday after the U.S. government reported that the number of people filing for initial unemployment assistance grew much less than expected last week.
At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.42%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.36%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.09%.
In the U.S. on Thursday, the Labor Department reported that number of people filing for initial jobless claims fell by 42,000 to 346,000, well beyond expectations for a decrease of 23,000.
The numbers eased concerns that the recovery in the labor market was stalling after U.S. nonfarm payrolls data for March came in far below expectations.
Stocks jumped up on the news.
Meanwhile, demand for risk-on assets also grew after China reported a large increase in bank lending in March just one day after trade data indicated that domestic demand remains healthy in the Asian giant.
Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Pfizer, up 2.41%, Travelers Companies, up 1.49%, and Verizon Communications, up 1.30%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Hewlett-Packard, down 6.45%, Microsoft, down 4.20%, and Intel, down 1.93%.
Technology shares took a beating after the IDC market research firm reported slumping PC global shipments.
European indices, meanwhile, finished higher.
After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.48%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.85%, while Germany's DAX 30 finished up 0.78%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 gained 0.45%.
On Friday the U.S. is to release official data on retail sale, producer price inflation and business inventories, as well as preliminary data from the University of Michigan on consumer sentiment.
Also Friday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is to speak; his comments will be closely watched for indications of the future possible direction of monetary policy.
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