The Labor Department said first-time jobless claims rose by 34,000 to 386,000 in the week ending Saturday. The Conference Board said the U.S. leading indicators fell 0.3 percent to 95.6 in June, the third consecutive monthly decline.
In a report that contained good and bad news, the National Association of Realtors said existing home sales fell 5.4 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.37 million homes.
Sales slowed, but tight supplies of homes on the market continued to push home prices higher. With a 6.6-month supply on the market at the current rate of sales, the national median home price in the month was $189,400, up 7.9 percent from a year earlier, the trade group said.
Stocks were mixed early but turned around late in the day. By close of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average added 34.66 points, 0.27 percent, to 12,943.36. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 3.73 points, 0.27 percent, to 1,376.51. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index gained 23.30 points, 0.79 percent, to 2,965.90.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,586 stocks advanced and 1,425 declined on a volume of 3.7 billion shares traded.
The benchmark 10-year treasury note fell 3/32 to yield 1.51 percent.
The euro fell to $1.2274 from Wednesday's $1.2283. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 78.66 yen from 78.80 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 0.61 percent, 68.81, to 8,795.55.
In London, the FTSE 100 index climbed 0.5 percent, 28.42, to 5,714.19.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]