U.S. stocks closed slightly higher on Thursday, shaking off two days of losses. Separate government reports indicating a steep drop in weekly applications for unemployment benefits and a pickup in U.S. factory orders helped lift the market. Consumer discretionary stocks were among the biggest risers. U.S. stock trading will be closed Friday for Good Friday.

U.S. stocks closed slightly higher on Thursday, shaking off two days of losses. Separate government reports indicating a steep drop in weekly applications for unemployment benefits and a pickup in U.S. factory orders helped lift the market. Consumer discretionary stocks were among the biggest risers. U.S. stock trading will be closed Friday for Good Friday.

On Thursday:

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 65.06 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,763.24.

The S&P 500 index gained 7.27 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,066.96.

The Nasdaq composite added 6.71 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,886.94.

For the week:

The Dow is up 50.58 points, or 0.3 percent.

The S&P 500 index is up 5.94 points, or 0.3 percent.

The Nasdaq is down 4.28 points, or 0.1 percent.

For the year:

The Dow is down 59.83 points, or 0.3 percent.

The S&P 500 index is up 8.06 points, or 0.4 percent.

The Nasdaq is up 150.88 points, or 3.2 percent.