In other news Thursday, the Labor Department reported that the number of people seeking unemployment benefits jumped last week to the highest level in two months, though the figures were skewed in part by Hurricane Isaac.
The figures come after a disappointing jobs report last week. Employers added only 96,000 jobs in August, far below the average 226,000 a month added in the January-March quarter.
The government also said that wholesale prices rose 1.7 percent in August, the most in three years. They were driven up by higher costs for gas and food. Removing the impact of energy and food, however, the increase in prices has been mild.
Among stocks making moves, Pall Corp. rose $4.63, or 8 percent, to $62.80. The company, which makes filtration equipment, posted net income that beat Wall Street predictions.Apple climbed $13.19, or 2 percent, to $682.98. On Wednesday, the company unveiled an iPhone with a bigger screen and faster download speeds. On Wednesday, the Dow rose to a four-year high after Germany's highest court rejected calls to block the creation of Europe's rescue fund for indebted governments. The Fed action combined with the Middle East turmoil pushed crude prices up to above $98 a barrel of the first time in more than four months. Oil rose $1.30 to close at $98.31 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. There were nearly four stocks rising for every one falling. Volume was high, 4.5 billion shares. ___ AP Business Writer Christina Rexrode contributed to this report.