Stocks were moderately higher on Thursday a day after a sell-off took the Dow Jones Industrial Average down triple digits.
Currency markets were also very active, with a massive move taking place in the USD/JPY after the Bank of Japan announced it will purchase longer-term government bonds as part of a its easing program.
The USD/JPY climbed better than 3 percent on the day.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 56 points, or 0.38 percent, to 14,606.
The S&P 500 added better than 6 points, or 0.40 percent, to 1,560.
The Nasdaq was the laggard on the day, but still eked out a 6 point, or 0.20 percent, gain to close at 3,225.
Initial claims moved higher for the week ending March 30 to 385,000 compared to 357,000 for the week ending March 23. This was well above consensus expectations calling for a decline to 345,000.
Continuing claims fell to 3.063 million for the week ending March 23. This compared to 3.071 million for the week ending March 16. This was slightly above consensus estimates of 3.050 million.
Crude oil was lower on Thursday's trading session. Near the close of equities, NYMEX crude futures had lost 1.32 percent to $93.20. Brent crude contracts were last down 0.77 percent to $106.33. Natural gas rose a little better than 1 percent on the day to $3.94.
Precious metals were basically unchanged on the day. At last check, COMEX gold futures had fallen 0.01 percent to $1,553.40 while silver futures were up 0.03 percent to $26.85.
Bond prices moved sharply higher on Thursday. Near the close of equity trading, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE:TLT) was up 1.11 percent to $120.31. Yields fell as prices rose.
The 2-Year Note yield was unchanged at 0.22 percent while the yield on the 5-Year Note fell four basis points to 0.69 percent.
The yield on the 10-Year Note slipped five basis points to 1.76 percent and the 30-Year Bond yield fell seven basis points to 2.99 percent.
The U.S. dollar opened higher on Thursday but fell throughout the day. At last check, the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE:UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, had lost 0.09 percent to $22.50.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair was last trading up 0.73 percent to $1.2937. The Japanese Yen plunged around 3.33 percent against the greenback on Thursday after the Bank of Japan said that it will buy longer-term government bonds as part of an asset purchase program.
Volatility and Volume
A day after rising sharply, the VIX fell slightly on Thursday. The widely watched barometer of market fear declined 0.84 percent to 14.09.
Volume was a little lighter than normal on the session with around 109 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) shares trading hands compared to a 3-month daily average of 123 million.
Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) was trading up around 16 percent heading into the close after the company announced a plan to install mini Samsung boutiques within its stores.
Shares of retailer Conn's (NASDAQ:CONN) climbed better than 13 percent a day after the company released strong fiscal fourth-quarter financial results and a better than expected outlook.
Online auction operator Liquidity Services (NASDAQ:LQDT) jumped better than 11 percent after the company announced an increase of 18 percent in its March sales.
Ixia (NASDAQ:XXIA) fell around 10 percent on Thursday after the company said that it had to restate its financial results for 2010, 2011 and the first three quarters of last year.
NII Holdings (NASDAQ:NIHD) fell around 10 percent on the session a day after the stock surged as much as 25 percent on a report that the company could sell a business unit to Chilean phone company Entel for $500 million.
Teradata (NYSE:TDC) lost more than 7 percent on Thursday, although the reason for the move was not immediately clear.
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