Wall Street rises on positive data, Nasdaq halts trading


U.S. stocks closed higher on positive data on Thursday after the Nasdaq stock exchange suspended trading of all stocks for about three hours.

Full trading on Nasdaq stock market, the second-largest U.S. stock exchange, resumed at 3:25 p.m. (1925 GMT), about three hours after all traffic through the exchange stopped due to technical problems.

Shares of the Nasdaq OMX Group, the operator of Nasdaq, closed 3.42 percent lower to 30.46 U.S. dollars due to the trading glitch. No detailed reasons have been given about the shutdown.

Despite the trading glitch, Wall Street held gains as manufacturing activities came in positive around the globe.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 66.19 points, or 0.44 percent, to 14,963.74 points. The broader S&P 500 gained 14.16 points, or 0.86 percent, to 1,656.96 points. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index increased 38.92 points, or 1.08 percent, to 3,638.71 points.

The preview of U.S. manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index ( PMI) for August provided by market research group Markit rose to a five-month high of 53.9, higher than July's final reading of 53.7 and in line with market expectations.

Moreover, HSBC's preliminary reading of Chinese PMI for August surprisingly expanded for the first time in four months. Eurozone flash manufacturing PMI for August also rose to an over two-year high, according to Markit.

Among other data out of the United States, the Federal Housing Finance Agency house price index for June gained 0.7 percent after rising 0.8 percent in May, showing the housing sector continues to mend.

The advance figure for seasonally adjusted jobless initial claims stood at 336,000 in the week ending Aug. 17, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 323,000, the U.S. Labor Department said on Thursday. But the number remained near a six-year low.

The four-week moving average, a less volatile gauge, was 330, 500, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average of 332,750.

"The five-year low layoffs are encouraging for the job creation after July's lackluster payrolls report. The declining claims trend buoys expectation of tapering in September," Mei Li, an economic analyst at FTN Financial, said on Thursday.

The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, dipped 7.40 percent to end at 14.76.

In other markets, oil prices went up as a string of better-than- expected economic data showed U.S. economy is improving. Light, sweet crude for October delivery gained 1.18 dollars to settle at 105.03 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent for October delivery went up 9 cents to close at 109.9 dollars a barrel.

Gold future for December delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 0.7 dollar to settle at 1,370.8 dollars per ounce.

The U.S. dollar continued to rise against major currencies on Thursday. In late New York trading, the euro lost to 1.3353 dollars from 1.3376 dollars of the previous session and the dollar bought 98.58 Japanese yen, higher than 97.75 yen of the previous session.