NEW YORK, Mar.9 -- U.S. stocks gained on Thursday as more-than-expected private creditors agreed to participate in the bond swap deal and Greece was expected to avoid a disorderly default.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 70.61 points, or 0.55 percent, at 12,907.94. The Standard & Poor's 500 was up 13.28 points, or 0.98 percent, to 1,365.91. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 34.73 points, or 1.18 percent, to 2,970.42.
Investor's nerves about the Greek debt crisis eased on Thursday as the country would secure its bond swap deal with its private investors. According to Greek government officials, nearly 95 percent of bondholders have agreed to take part in the bond swap deal, exceeding the 90-percent rate the country had been aiming for.
The swap deal is a critical part for the country to receive second round of bailouts from the international organizations. The results will be announced on Friday. Investors expected that Greece will successfully avoid a chaotic default.
The optimism on Greece helped to lift the market on Thursday. European shares finished higher before U.S. market close. The CBOE Volatility Index, which is widely considered as the best gauge of fear in the market, also dropped to end below 18, a sign that risk- aversion appetite eased.
Meanwhile, the European Central Bank held interest rates at 1.0 percent for the third-straight month, as expected. Also, the Bank of England decided to keep its key interest rate unchanged at 0.50 percent.
On economic front, the U.S. Labor Department said initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000, the highest level in five weeks. However, the figure was still near its lowest level in four years.
All three major indexes in U.S. stock market gained on Thursday. However, they were still in negative territory for the week. Volume was light on Thursday with about 6.1 billion shares changed hand, below the daily average of 6.9 billion, as uncertainties kept cautious money out of the market.
American International Group (AIG) Inc lost nearly 4 percent after the U.S. Treasury is set to sell 6 billion dollars of AIG stocks.
Apple jumped 2.1 percent on Thursday, a day after the tech giant announced the new edition of iPad.
Investors eyed upcoming non-farm payroll report on Friday. Economists expected a gain of 210,000 in overall non-farm payrolls and an addition of 225,000 jobs in the private sector.
On other markets, the dollar dropped as the euro surged on Greece optimism. Gold jumped more than 1 percent on a weak dollar. The crude oil for April delivery gained 0.4 percent to settle at 106.58 dollars per barrel.