U.S. stocks kicked off the final session of the first quarter flat, as weekly jobless claims reached a two-month high. Jobless claims rose by 11,000 last week to 276,000. The official jobs report from the government is released on Friday. Meanwhile, as first quarter ends, stocks are at their highest level of the year. 'This has been a pretty historic quarter,' said Jasper Lawler, a market analyst with CMC Markets, based in London, adding that stocks lost 10 percent only to rebound all within the same quarter. Plus, S&P lowered its rating for China's sovereign credit to negative from stable, noting that the headwinds sparked by China's economic transition will take longer than expected. Finally, McDonald's (MCD) - Get Report will add some 1,500 restaurants across China, Hong Kong and Korea - all within the next five years. The fast food giant already has 2,800 locations in the region. TheStreet's Scott Gamm reports from Wall Street.