Stocks on Thursday followed crude oil higher as both a massive Canadian wildfire and fighting in Libya threatened to disrupt output.
The S&P 500 rose 0.24%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.15%, and the Nasdaq added 0.28%.
A state of emergency was declared in Canada's Alberta province after a wildfire that began Sunday continued to threaten the region. The fire has halted production at one major mining operation in the area and reduced operations at another.
Separately, fighting between rival factions in Libya has blocked oil tankers, prompting Tripoli officials to warn that the country's oil output could fall by 120,000 barrels a day if the disruption continues.
Crude oil has suffered a prolonged period of low prices as record global production flooded an already-oversupplied market. News of a disruption to global production triggered a rally in crude on Thursday morning. West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up 4% to $45.55 a barrel.
"Crude prices are surging higher this morning as supply disruptions in different parts of the world overshadow yesterday's bearish inventory numbers from the [Energy Information Administration]," said Robbie Fraser, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric. "While these situations do not necessarily indicate long-term threats to supply, they are the types of issues that should become increasingly important for crude price movement as the supply/demand gap narrows and the market tightens due to elevated summer demand."
The energy sector was the best performer on markets Thursday. Major oilers Exxon Mobil (XOM - Get Report) , PetroChina (PTR - Get Report) , Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A - Get Report) , and Chevron (CVX - Get Report) were all higher, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE - Get Report) added 2.2%.
The number of new claims for unemployment benefits climbed 17,000 to 274,000 in the final week of April, according to the Labor Department. The less-volatile four-week jobless claims average increased 2,000 to 258,000. The measure remains near its lowest level since 2000.
The U.S. nonfarm payrolls report will be released on Friday morning. The U.S. economy is expected to have added 200,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls in April, slowing slightly after two months of strong growth. Nonfarm payrolls added 215,000 jobs in March and 245,000 in February.
"As U.S. growth momentum continues to slow, the fallout is expected to begin showing up in labor market activity with employment growth slowing in April," TD Securities analysts wrote in a note. "The unemployment rate should hold at 5% as a further influx into the labor force offset the gains in household employment, while wage growth should post a solid gain."
The labor report will take on added significance as it is scrutinized for what it might mean for the Federal Reserve and the timeline of the central bank's planned interest rate hikes. The Fed recently left its federal funds rate unchanged following its April meeting and will meet again on June 14-15.
Alibaba (BABA - Get Report) bested revenue estimates in its fourth quarter after gross sales volume in China continued to grow in the double digits. Revenue rose 39% to $3.75 billion, above estimates of $3.57 billion. Gross merchandise volume from transactions in China climbed 24%. Shares added nearly 5%.
Tesla (TSLA - Get Report) fell 1.8% despite reporting a narrower-than-expected loss in its first quarter. The electric carmaker reported a quarterly loss of 57 cents a share in its recent quarter, 3 cents better than analysts had expected. Tesla also moved its production goal of 500,000 cars a year up to 2018, two years sooner than previously forecast.
Fitbit (FIT - Get Report) slumped 16% on a disappointing second-quarter outlook. The fitness tracker company expects adjusted earnings no higher than 11 cents a share, a far cry from consensus of 26 cents. Fitbit topped first-quarter earnings and sales expectations.
MetLife (MET - Get Report) slipped 1% as market headwinds pressured profit and revenue in its first quarter. The insurer reported adjusted per-share earnings of $1.20, below estimates of $1.38. Revenue fell just under 3%.
Zynga (ZNGA - Get Report) surged more than 11% after reporting a breakeven first quarter, better than an expected loss of one cent a share. The online-games designer also topped sales estimates with revenue climbing 15% from the year-ago quarter.
Weight Watchers (WTW) added 9% following an increase full-year outlook. The weight-loss company, in which Oprah Winfrey holds a 10% stake, said it expects 2016 earnings between 80 cents and $1.05 a share, above a previous range of 70 cents to $1.
SeaWorld (SEAS - Get Report) slumped 9% as ballooning expenses and declining theme park attendance caused first-quarter losses to widen. The acquatic theme park operator reported a net loss of $84 million, nearly double the loss of the year-ago quarter. The company has suffered three years of harsh criticism over the captivity and breeding programs of its orcas.