U.S. equities closed slightly higher in choppy trading Thursday as investors digested weaker-than-expected economic data and kept an eye on falling oil prices.
Oil prices whipsawed Thursday, with West Texas Intermediate settling at $31.72 a barrel, down 1.7 percent, after rising more than 3 percent at session highs.
"I think the [equity] market is kind of chopping around," said Maris Ogg, president at Tower Bridge Advisors. "The problem is that a lot of the negatives about falling commodity prices are still being worked into the system."
The Dow added over nearly 150 points at session highs, after opening slightly lower. However, the blue chips index struggled to hold those gains, closing about 80 points higher. At its session lows, the index fell 70.5 points, while gaining 149.18 points at session highs.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite closed mildly higher, after gaining more than 0.5 percent at session highs.