US stocks closed higher on Thursday after data showed more than 5 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 33.33 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 23,537.68. The S&P 500 was up 16.19 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 2,799.55. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 139.19 points, or 1.66 per cent, to 8,532.36, Xinhua reported.
Six of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors finished higher, with health care up 2 per cent, leading the gainers. Energy slipped 3.97 per cent, the worst-performing group.
The number of initial jobless claims in the US totaled 5.25 million in the week ending April 11, as the COVID-19 fallout continues to ripple through the workforce, following staggering figures of over 6 million in the previous two weeks, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Thursday.
The reading was a drop of 1.37 million from a week earlier but exceeded analysts' estimates for 5 million. That also brought the four-week total to about 22 million amid the COVID-19 shock.
Various data released lately showed the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to take a big toll on the world's largest economy.
Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund forecast that the US economy would contract by 5.9 per cent this year.