New York - US stocks on Thursday ended slightly higher as investors looked ahead to Friday's crucial monthly jobs and unemployment report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 6.61 (0.04 percent) to 14,937.48.
The broad-based S&P 500 gained 2.00 (0.12 percent) at 1,655.08, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index put on 9.74 (0.27
percent) at 3,658.94.
Analysts said Thursday's trading volumes were light because of the Jewish New Year holiday and because some investors preferred to await Friday's much-anticipated report on US nonfarm payrolls for August.
“This is a week replete with economic data and we get the most important piece tomorrow,” said Art Hogan, head of product strategy at Lazard Capital Markets.
The report will be analysed as far as its likely impact on the Federal Reserve's decision on when to scale back its aggressive bond-buying programme.
US Treasury bond yields have been rising as better economic data has fuelled speculation the Federal Reserve will soon taper the program.
Retail chain Costco advanced 2.8 percent after reporting August sales that were seven percent higher than the year-ago period.
Online professional networking company LinkedIn rose 3.9 percent after boosting the size of its secondary stock offering from $1.0-billion to $1.2-billion.
Broadcom, which provides semiconductor products for wired and wireless communications, rose 3.5 percent after announcing a $164-million deal to buy assets that serve the LTE market, which is a high-speed data market for mobile phones and data terminals.
Retailer JC Penney moved 5.3 percent higher following a New York Post report that it is dropping the Martha Stewart brand. JC Penney had challenged Macy's deal to sell Martha Stewart products, and the three have been locked in a court battle over the issue. Macy's rose 2.7 percent, while Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia sank 5.7 percent.
Online coupon company Groupon jumped 3.6 percent following an upgrade from Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley said the company's turnaround in North America raises confidence in the company's ability to execute a turnaround internationally, MarketWatch reported.
Building materials manufacturer Louisiana-Pacific gained 11.1 percent after announcing a $1.1-billion acquisition of Ainsworth Lumber Company, arguing the asset will improve its access to Asian markets and diversify its product mix.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury jumped to 2.98 percent from 2.90 percent on Wednesday, while the 30-year rose to 3.88 percent from 3.80 percent. Prices and yields move inversely. - Sapa-AFP