NEW YORK, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed higher Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index snapping a five-day losing streak, as investors weighed better-than-expected weekly initial claims for jobless benefits against looming budget wrangling in Washington.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 55.04 points, or 0.36 percent, to 15,328.30 points. The S&P 500 was up 5.90 points, or 0. 35 percent, to 1,698.67 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 26.33 points, or 0.70 percent, to 3,787.43 points.
The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims fell 5,000 to 305,000 last week from the previous week's upwardly revised figure of 310,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported.
"If claims are still just above 300k and computer systems problems are not to blame, then the pace of layoffs slowed significantly this month, raising the possibility of a huge employment report in October," said Mei Li, an economic analyst at FTN Financial, Thursday.
Among other economic data, U.S. real gross domestic product ( GDP) increased at an unrevised annual rate of 2.5 percent in the second quarter of the year, according to the third and final estimate released by the Commerce Department. In the first quarter, the real GDP of the country increased 1.1 percent.
Moreover, pending U.S. home sales slowed in August, with tight inventory conditions, higher interest rates, rising home prices and continuing restrictive mortgage credit impacting the market, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index dropped 1.6 percent in August from the prior month.
However, the market posted a seesaw trading session afterwards, as continuing uncertainties weighed on stocks over whether Washington will raise its debt limit ahead of a looming deadline and reach a budget deal for the new fiscal year starting Oct. 1.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Wednesday the Treasury Department would run out of borrowing capacity on Oct. 17, and urged Congress to raise the debt limit in a timely manner.
On corporate side, eBay shares climbed 4.48 percent to 56.64 U. S. dollars after the owner of electronic-payments service PayPal said it will acquire its rival Braintree to expand in the mobile payments service.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, increased 0.36 percent to end at 14.06.
In other markets, oil prices gained Thursday on encouraging jobs data. Light, sweet crude for November delivery increased 0.37 dollar to settle at 103.03 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for November delivery advanced 0. 89 dollar to close at 109.21 dollars a barrel.
Gold future for December delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 12.1 dollar to settle at 1, 324.1 dollars per ounce Thursday.
The U.S. dollar strengthened against major currencies Thursday. In late New York trading, the euro slipped to 1.3488 dollars from 1.3523 dollars of the previous session, and the dollar bought 98. 80 Japanese yen, slightly higher than 98.46 yen of the previous session.