U.S. stocks closed Thursday in mixed fashion ahead of a three day weekend. The S&P 500 lost 0.1%, while the NASDAQ added 0.4%.
- Weekly unemployment applications dropped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 357,000. That's the fewest since April 2008. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 361,750, also the lowest in four years.
- Revenue in stores open at least one year rose 4.1%, according to a preliminary tally of 22 retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Commodities regained some of their losses from Wednesday's session as crude oil added 1.8% to $103.31, gold gained 1% to $1630.10 and silver recovered 2.2% to $31.73.
British shares closed up 0.4% percent while Germany's DAX fell 0.1% and rhe CAC-40 in France gained 0.2%.
- The Bank of England kept its key interest rate at an all-time low of 0.5%. The rate-setting panel also voted Thursday not to increase its 325 billion pounds ($515 billion) monetary stimulus program. February's decision to splash out a further 50 billion pounds in quantitative easing will not be completed until May.
- The yield on Spain's benchmark 10-year bonds Thursday hit a high of 5.81% before dropping slightly to 5.74%. Just a month ago the rate was below 4.9%.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.5% while China's Shanghai Composite Index gained up 1.7% after being closed three days for a holiday.