U.S. markets turned higher Thursday, as investors contemplated jobless claims, an interest rate decision in Europe and Greek debt.
Weekly first-time jobless claim figures came in better than expected with 15,000 fewer claims filed than the previous week, the Labor Department said.
In Germany, the European Central Bank said it would keep its key lending rate at 1 percent. Also in Europe, negotiations on Greece qualifying for continued international aid moved to Brussels from Athens, where political leaders reached agreement on an austerity budget.
In early afternoon trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average added 25.73 points or 0.2 percent to 12,909.68. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 3.37 points or 0.25 percent to 1,353.33. The Nasdaq composite index rose 11.44 points or 0.39 percent to 2,927.30.
The benchmark 10-year treasury note rose 9/32 to yield 2.045 percent.
The euro rose to $1.3288 from Wednesday's $1.3261. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 77.72 yen from Wednesday's 77.04 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.15 percent, 13.35, to 9,002.24.
In London, the FTSE 100 index gained 0.33 percent, 19.54, to 5,895.47.