The S&P 500 index gained four points to 1,696 at 12 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 40 points to 15,313. The Nasdaq climbed 21 points to 3,782.
Unemployment claims fell close to their lowest level in six years last week, the government says.
The Dow and S&P 500 have fallen five consecutive days, spooked by the prospect of a government shutdown. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told Congress this week that the Treasury's ability to borrow funds will be exhausted Oct. 17.
Bed Bath & Beyond rose $3.17, or 4 per cent, to $77.38. The retailer said Wednesday that its quarterly profit increased 11 per cent.