FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

U.S. equity markets posted solid gains on Thursday after the weekly jobless claims report beat views and factory orders came in just slightly light.

Today's Markets

As of 3:00 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) climbed 78 points, or 0.48%, to 16438, the S&P 500 (GSPC) advanced 5.1 points, or 0.27%, to 1879 and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) dipped 2.5 points, or 0.06%, to 4355.

The world economy is coming into focus with the key monthly jobs report from the Labor Department due out on Friday. 

The European Central Bank held its main refinancing rate steady at 0.25%, as economists expected. A conference from ECB President Mario Draghi is due later in the day. Draghi and other have warned that disinflation could pose a risk to the 18-member currency bloc, and analysts will be looking to see what action, if any, he'll take.

In the latest sign of recover in the 18-member currency bloc, German factory orders jumped 1.2% in January, topping expectations. 

On the U.S. front, the Labor Department said number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell to 323,000 last week from an upwardly revised 349,000 the week prior. Analysts were looking for claims to fall to 338,000 from an initially reported 348,000.

The Commerce Department reported factory orders fell 0.7% in January, a slightly deeper fall than the 0.4% dip economists expected.A considerably harsher-than-usual winter across much of the U.S. has taken a toll on the economy. Still, the bulk of economists expect the impact to be temporary. 

Elsewhere, Costco (COST) shares came under pressure after the wholesale club logged a 15% drop in its quarterly profits. Staples (SPLS) shares plunged after the office supply store revealed worse-than-expected quarterly results, a disappointing current-quarter outlook and plans to shutter 225 stores. 

In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures slid 64 cents, or 0.63%, to $100.81 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.03% to $2.94 a gallon. Gold dipped $5.70, or 0.43%, to $1,335 a troy ounce. 

Follow Adam Samson on Twitter @adamsamson.