The Bank of England kept its lending rate at 0.5 percent. The European Central Bank kept its rate at 0.75 percent.
Both decisions were expected, but the ECB's decision came with a more pessimistic forecast for the economy of the eurozone, which the ECB expects will contract 0.3 percent in 2013.
The Labor Department said Thursday 23,000 fewer first-time unemployment claims were filed in the week ending Saturday, bringing the weekly total to 370,000, close to the 369,000 mark of the week before Hurricane Sandy pounded the East Coast.
By close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average added 39.55 points, or 0.3 percent, to 13,074.04.
The index was led by technology giant Intel, shares up 1.56 percent; Cisco Systems, shares up 1.41 percent; and McDonald's, shares up 1.29 percent.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq index gained 15.57 points, or 0.52 percent, to 2,989.27. The Standard and Poor's 500 added 4.66 points, or 0.33 percent, to 1,413.94.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,605 stocks advanced and 1,420 declined on a volume of 3.1 billion shares traded.
The 10-year treasury note was yielding 1.591 percent.
The euro fell to $1.2966 from Wednesday's $1.3066. The dollar fell to 82.40 yen from 82.47 yen.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index added 0.81 percent, 76.32 points, to 9,545.16.
Britain's FTSE 100 index gained 0.16 percent, 9.34 points, to 5,901.42.
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