U.S. stocks posted sizable gains after volatile trading Thursday, as investors digested mixed economic reports ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting next week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 76.83 points, or 0.47 percent, to 16,330.40. The S&P 500 gained 10.25 points, or 0.53 percent, to 1,952.29. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 39.72 points, or 0.84 percent, to 4,796.25. In the week ending Sept. 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims was 275,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised level, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.
In a separate report, the department said that U.S. import prices declined 1.8 percent in August due to falling oil prices and a rising dollar, logging their biggest drop in seven months. Prices for U.S. exports also fell 1.4 percent in August, exceeding market consensus of a 0.4-percent decline.
The strengthening U.S. labor market and falling import prices triggered market debate over whether the Fed should raise interest rates next week. Uncertainty about the Fed's decision over whether or not to hike rates at its two-day policy meeting next week has been contributing to the recent volatility in the market.
In corporate news, shares of Apple jumped 2.20 percent to 112. 57 U.S. dollars apiece Thursday after the tech giant unveiled a string of new products including iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, Apple TV with Siri and iPad Pro.
Overseas stock markets saw a broad-based decline Thursday. European equities retreated following previous day's solid gains, with Britain's benchmark FTSE 100 Index dipping 1.18 percent.
In Asia, Chinese shares closed lower as heavyweight shares experienced a weak performance, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index going down 1.39 percent. Japanese stocks dived Thursday on profit-taking after massive gains of the prior session, with the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average dropping 2.51 percent.