NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Markets broke a three-day losing streak on Thursday as Janet Yellen's nomination as the next Federal Reserve chief was approved by the Senate Banking Committee and investors cheered a fall in weekly initial jobless claims.
The S&P 500 was 0.81% higher at 1,795.85, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.69% to 16,009.99. The Nasdaq popped 1.22% to 3,969.15.
The Senate Banking Committee approved President Obama's nomination of Yellen with a vote of 14 in favor and 8 against. Yellen has been a key figure behind the record accommodative measures in the U.S. which have boosted equity markets. The vote will now go to the full Senate for final confirmation and is expected after Thanksgiving.
Initial jobless claims for the week of Nov. 16 fell by 21,000 to 323,000, which was better than the 335,000 economists were expecting. The four-week average indicative of longer-term jobless patterns also fell, edging down by 6,750.
Fears that Fed stimulus is lifting inflation were eased as the producer price index for October fell 0.2%, cooling further from the prior month's drop of 0.1%. The core PPI excluding food and energy rose 0.2%.
In corporate news, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) surged 14.1% to $70.57 after posting fourth-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations. Retailers, however, were lackluster in early morning trades, though their disappointing forecasts were not necessarily reflective of the overall consumer spending environment.
Target (TGT) shares slumped 3.5% to $64.17 after the discount retailer cut its full-year forecast to earnings per share of $4.59 to $4.69 from the prior outlook of $4.70 to $4.90 after margins and earnings softened at its U.S. business during the third quarter and its Canadian unit suffered losses.
Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) lost 0.06% to $34.97 after the casual apparel retailer guided for a low double-digit decrease in comparable sales for the fourth quarter.
Manufacturing growth slowed in November, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's business outlook survey. The survey's measure of manufacturing conditions fell from 19.8 in October to 6.5 in November, well below expectations for a result of 15.
Markets dropped on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve's policymaking minutes suggested the central bank will scale back its economic stimulus in the coming months.
Overseas markets were mixed after an indication of a weakening in Chinese manufacturing activity in November and mixed business activity numbers out of Europe. The DAX in Germany lost 0.07% and the FTSE in London settled unchanged at 6,681. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed behind by 0.51% while the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 1.92%.
The 10-year Treasury was adding 4/32 to dilute the yield to 2.789%, while the U.S. dollar index was off 0.04% to $81.03. Oil increased $1.59 to settle at $95.44 a barrel. Gold dropped $14.40 to $1,243.60 an ounce.
-- Written by Jane Searle and Joe Deaux in New York.