The U.S. stock market rose on Thursday after a series of declines in the wake of uncertainty over the Federal Reserve's timeline for tapering its quantitative easing program.
Although the gains were muted, the rally snapped a 3-day losing streak for U.S. equities. Crude oil futures fell for the fifth consecutive session while strength was seen in precious metals on Thursday. The U.S. Dollar recorded moderate losses while long-term Treasury prices rose modestly.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose around 28 points, or 0.18 percent, to close at 15,498.
The S&P 500 added a little less than 7 points, or 0.39 percent, to 1,697.
The Nasdaq gained 15 points, or 0.41 percent, to 3,669.
Initial jobless claims increased from 328,000 for the week ending July 27 to 333,000 for the week ending August 3. This compared to consensus estimates calling for an increase to 340,000.
Continuing claims rose from 2.951 million for the week ending July 20 to 3.018 million for the week ending July 27. The consensus expected continuing claims to rise to 2.975 million.
Related: Is Tesla overvalued? Commodities
Crude oil prices declined on Thursday. At last check, NYMEX crude futures were trading down 0.80 percent to $103.53. Brent futures had lost 0.63 percent to $106.76. Natural gas futures rose a little better than 2 percent on the session to $3.31.
Precious metals prices moved up strongly on Thursday. Near the close of equities, COMEX gold futures were up better than 2 percent while silver futures had climbed around 4 percent. Gold was last trading at $1,313.00 while silver contracts were trading hands at $20.30.
The grains complex was mostly higher on the day, although wheat futures recorded a loss. At last check, corn was up 0.33 percent while wheat had shed 0.35 percent. Movers in soft commodities included cocoa and cotton, with each gaining around 1 percent.
Long-term Treasury prices had recorded moderate gains late on Thursday. Heading into the closing bell for equities, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE:TLT) was up around 0.19 percent to $107.00.
Treasury yields were as follows on Thursday afternoon: The 2-Year Note was yielding 0.30 while the 5-Year Note yield was at 1.36 percent. The 10-Year Note and 30-Year Bond were yielding 2.59 percent and 3.67 percent, respectively.
Late in the day, the U.S. Dollar was sitting on moderate losses. Near the close, the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE:UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, was down 0.32 percent to $21.91.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair was up 0.41 percent to $1.3387. Other movers included the USD/CAD, which fell 1.03 percent, and the AUD/USD, which climbed 1.46 percent.
Volatility and Volume
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) pulled back from its recent highs as stocks rose on Thursday, snapping a 3-day streak of declines. Late in the day, the VIX was down 2.23 percent to 12.69.
Volume picked up on the session, but remained well-below the 3-month average. Around 81 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) shares traded hands compared to a 3-month average of almost 133 million.
Investors reacted to Q2 earnings results and full-year guidance from Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE:OWW) by pushing the stock up more than 37 percent on Thursday afternoon.
DexCom (NASDAQ:DXCM) surged more than 21 percent after the company released its fiscal Q2 earnings results.
Shares of online daily deals site Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) were trading up almost 22 percent near the close after the company reported better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter financial results.
Strong Q2 results propelled shares of Wageworks (NYSE:WAGE) up more than 19 percent near Thursday's close.
Tesla Motors continued its hot streak with a 14 percent gain after the company's fiscal second-quarter financial results.
Tower Group International (NASDAQ:TWGP) fell around 24 percent on the day after the company postponed its second-quarter earnings release.
A wider-than-expected loss in the company's fiscal fourth-quarter sent shares of Fusion-IO skidding on Thursday. The stock was last trading down almost 24 percent near the close.
Investors dumped shares of Imperva (NYSE:IMPV) after the company reported less-than-stellar results for its fiscal second-quarter. The stock fell around 15 percent on the session.
Halcon Resources (NYSE:HK) lost around 11 percent after the company priced a secondary offering of common stock.
Disappointing Q2 results from Tumi Holdings (NYSE:TUMI) sent that stock down almost 12 percent on Thursday.
Related: Thursday's top financial tweets!
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