Markets were mixed in Asia, but higher across Europe, giving markets some traction in New York despite a government report that said the U.S. trade deficit rose from $45.4 billion to $51.8 billion in March.
By close of trading, the DJIA gained 19.98 points, or 0.16 percent, to 12,855.04, ending a six-day losing streak. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 1.07 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,933.64. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 3.41 points, or 0.25 percent, to 1,357.99.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,894 stocks advanced and 1,127 declined on a volume of 3.5 billion shares traded.
The 10-year benchmark treasury note rose 3/32 to yield 1.865 percent.
The euro rose to $1.2934 from Wednesday's $1.293. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 79.92 yen from 79.63 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index lost 35.41 percent, 0.39, to 9,009.65.
In London, the FTSE 100 index gained 0.25 percent, 13.90, to 5,543.95.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]
Larry Ellison to step down as CEO of Oracle