CLAIMS FALL: Stocks climbed after applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest since January 2008. That gave the market a positive sign ahead of the government's closely watched monthly employment report due out on Friday.
GOOD EARNINGS: Corporate earnings are at record levels. Higher profits from CBS, Facebook and other companies helped lift stocks Thursday.
EUROPEAN CUT: The outlook for global growth was given a boost after the European Central Bank cuts its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 0.5 percent.