The US stock markets ended mixed on Thursday, with the Dow and S&P 500 managing slender gains and the Nasdaq settling barely changed.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19.98 points, or 0.2%, to 12,855.04. At the day's high, it rose more than 96 points. The index rapidly lost ground in the last hour, briefly turning lower. With this the Dow snapped a six-session losing streak.
The S&P 500 Index ended up but off its highs of the day. It gained 3.41 points, or 0.3%, to close at 1,357.99.
Utilities rose the most of the index’s 10 sectors, while technology was a notable loser.
The Nasdaq ended nearly unchanged at 2,933.64, its third straight loss.
On the New York Stock Exchange, about 780 million shares traded, while NYSE composite volume was 3.7 billion. Exchange advancers outpaced decliners by a more than 2 to 1. About 2 billion Nasdaq-listed shares traded.
The dollar fell against the euro and the British pound, but gained against the Japanese yen.
Oil for June delivery gained 27 cents to settle at $97.08 a barrel.
Gold futures for June delivery rose $1.30 to settle at $1,595.50 an ounce.
The price on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 1.88% from 1.84% late on Wednesday.
The number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits in the US fell 1,000 to 367,000 in the latest week. Economists had expected the report to show 365,000 claims.
The US trade deficit widened to $51.8 billion in March from $45.5 billion in February, according to the Commerce Department. The deficit was narrower than the $53 billion economists had expected.
The Treasury Department recorded a $59 billion surplus for the month of May, marking the first time in more than three years that the US posts has posted a budget surplus. Tax receipts were higher and spending lower than they were last April.
Greek politicians continued to struggle in their effort to form a coalition government and Spanish bond yields remained high.
After the Greek radical left party failed to gain consensus, Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos was given the mandate to form a coalition government by the Greek president on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Spain moved to take over Bankia - one of Spain's largest and most troubled banks - late on Wednesday.
The Bank of England held its key interest rate steady and did not increase its asset-buying program at the conclusion of its two-day meeting, despite the UK economy falling back into a recession.
China reported import and export growth that was slower than expected, according to economists' forecast. The report sparked concerns about a possible hard landing in China, while also stoking speculation of further monetary easing by the People's Bank of China.
Cisco was the biggest laggard on all three indexes, with shares tumbling more than 10%. Late on Wednesday, the networking giant released a disappointing sales outlook for the current quarter.
Avon said that perfume-maker Coty has raised its unsolicited bid for the company to $24.75 a share from its earlier offer of $23.25. Avon's board said it will consider the offer. Shares of Avon declined.
Kohl's reported earnings per share of 63 cents, down from 69 cents a year earlier but still better than the forecast of 61 cents from analysts. But the retailer gave earnings guidance for the current quarter that was below current forecasts, sending shares lower.