The Dow gained 28.01 points, or 0.10% to 27,677.79. The S&P 500 rose 0.15% to 3,117.43. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.05% to end the day at 8,570.70. Stocks hovered around the flatline for most of the day as investors weighed strong jobs data and trade uncertainty.
The Labor Department said weekly jobless claims fell to their lowest level in seven months, quelling fears about the jobs market stoked Wednesday by disappointing private payrolls data. The report also comes a day ahead of the monthly nonfarm payrolls report. The strong jobs data from Thursday initially sent stocks slightly higher but the major indexes quickly pared gains as worries around U.S.-China trade relations percolated. Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said Thursday the two sides remain in close communications regarding trade. Gao did not, however, give any details on how the negotiations were proceeding. Time is running out for China and the U.S. to strike a trade deal before Dec. 15, which is when additional U.S. tariffs are scheduled to take effect.
Nike shares jumped 2.21% after an analyst at Goldman Sachs upgraded them to buy from neutral. The analyst said Nike is on "the cusp of a sharp acceleration." Nike was among the best-performing Dow stocks along with Apple. The tech giant's stock gained 1.47%.