U.S. stocks traded mixed around midday Thursday, as investors digested economic data and waited for Friday's jobs report.
At noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 6.78 points, or 0.04 percent, to 17,704.96. The S&P 500 gained 2.67 points, or 0. 13 percent, to 2,062.36. The Nasdaq Composite Index edged down 3. 09 points, or 0.06 percent, to 4,877.14.
U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly fell in the last week, suggesting the labor market continued to expand at a solid pace.
In the week ending March 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims decreased 20,000 from the previous week's revised level to 268,000, the lowest reading since April 2000, according to the U.S. Labor Department Thursday.
Traders are looking forward to the key March payroll report, which will be released Friday.
U.S. Department of Commerce announced that the goods and services deficit were down 7.2 billion U.S. dollars from January's revised level to a five-year low of 35.4 billion dollars in February.
"Because the collapse in the trade deficit was the result of a work stoppage that ended in late February, and because an interruption in imports should mean offsetting weakness in inventories and consumption, the port slowdown should have a negative effect, rather than a positive one," said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, in a note.
Thursday marked the last trading day of the week, as the stock markets will be closed for Good Friday.