New York, NY (AP) - Stocks are closing higher after applications for unemployment benefits hit a four-year low and retailers reported better February sales.
Banks dodged a big hit from the Greek debt crisis and rallied Thursday to lead the market higher. A markets panel ruled that Greece's plan to restructure its debt should not trigger any bond-insurance payments yet.
JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America were among the top gainers in the Dow Jones industrial average. The Dow rose 28 points to 12,980, a gain of 0.2 percent.
The S&P 500 index rose 8 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,374.
The Nasdaq rose 22 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,989.
More than two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was slightly light at 3.9 billion.