Stocks Rise on Europe and Claims Data

U.S. stocks ended higher for a third session Thursday, as better-than-forecast jobless claims data and statements from European officials on bank recapitalization efforts inspired buyers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 183.38 points, or 1.68%, to 11,123.33. The S&P 500 ended up 20.94 points, or 1.83%, to 1,164.97. The Nasdaq Composite was up 46.31 points, or 1.88%, to 2,506.82.

The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, a sign that the job market remains weak. Weekly applications increased by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 401,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has fallen below 4 percent for the first time in history. On Thursday, Freddie Mac said the rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.94 percent from 4.01 percent last week, the previous low.

Oil prices rose Thursday as Europe’s central bank tried to strengthen the region’s financial system. Benchmark crude jumped $2.91, or 3.7 percent, to finish at $82.59 per barrel in New York, while Brent crude rose $3, or 2.9 percent, to end at $105.73 in London.

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