Stocks finished higher on Thursday in a volatile session as investors weighed a new round of 1Q earnings reports along with weekly employment data. The Labor Department reported that first-time jobless claims fell to 498,000, the first drop below 500,000 in the pandemic era and below the consensus forecast. However, continuing claims rose to 3.69 million from 3.653 million and topped the consensus estimate. The data came ahead of the government's April employment report on Friday morning. The Reuters consensus calls for the addition of 978,000 new payroll jobs after an increase of 916,000 in March. The Dow rose 0.93%, the S&P 0.82%, and the Nasdaq 0.37%. Crude oil fell 1% to $65 per barrel, while gold rose $31 to $1815 per ounce.
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