U.S. stocks rose mildly on Thursday, as the easing concerns about Greece boosted investor sentiment.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 56.22 points, or 0.31 percent, to 17,958.73. The S&P 500 gained 9.28 points, or 0.45 percent, to 2,091.18. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 23.74 points, or 0.48 percent, to 4,974.56.
Greece repaid a loan installment worth 458 million euros (or 492 million U.S. dollars) to the International Monetary Fund on Thursday amidst ongoing efforts to reach a deal to unlock further vital international funding within the next fortnight.
The Eurogroup Working Group meeting in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday this week examined the reform list to pave the way for a deal to be reached by the next Eurogroup meeting in Riga on April 24.
European shares posted solid gains Thursday with British benchmark FTSE 100 Index increasing 1.12 percent.
On the economic front, in the week ending April 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims was 281,000, an increase of 14,000 from the previous week's revised level, but below market consensus of 285,000, according to U.S. Labor Department Thursday.
Meanwhile, investors were still mulling over the minutes of the Federal Reserve's March policy meeting released Wednesday afternoon. The minutes showed that Fed policymakers were divided over the timing of a rate hike.
Several Fed officials thought that the U.S. central bank would be able to raise interest rates in June, and the others believed a rate hike wouldn't be warranted until later in the year. Some investors believed the time of first rate hike would be postponed to the late of this year.
In corporate news, Alcoa unofficially kicked off the first- quarter earnings season after Wednesday's closing bell, as the Aluminum maker reported weaker-than-expected quarterly revenues.
The company said its net income for the first quarter of 2015 came out at 195 million U.S. dollars, or 0.14 dollar per share. Its shares dropped 3.37 percent to 13.21 dollars apiece on Thursday.
According to Thomson Reuters, the blended earnings in the first quarter of 2015 are expected to decline 2.7 percent year on year, while the revenue is forecast to decrease 2.6 percent. Excluding the energy sector, however, the earnings growth estimate is a 5.6- percent gain, with a revenue increase of 2.9 percent.