The Dow gained 469.93 points, or 2.24%, to close at 21,413.44. The S&P 500 rose 2.28% to 2,526.90. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.72% to 7,487.31. Stocks traded in a wide range Thursday as investors weighed a record jump in unemployment claims and a sharp r ally in oil prices.
6.6 million jobless claims
The Labor Department said a record 6.6 million people filed for unemployment benefits the week of March 27. That's more than double the previous week's total of 3.28 million. "The news is terrible and I'm not sure why the estimates the past two weeks have been so far off but we all know how rough things are," said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. The grim data initially dampened market sentiment, but a rally in oil gave stocks a boost. U.S. crude had its best day ever, soaring 24% after President Donald Trump told CNBC he expects Saudi Arabia and Russia to reach a deal on a production cut.
Chevron and Exxon rise, Boeing falls again
Chevron and Exxon Mobil led energy stocks higher, surging 11.03% and 7.65%, respectively. Boeing shares were a drag on the Dow once again, however, closing 5.68% lower.
What happens next?
All eyes will be on the March jobs report, which is scheduled for release Friday at 8:30 a.m.
Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.