Japan's markets, meanwhile, blew hot and cold in Thursday's trading. The Nikkei 225 index bumped up 85.82 points, or 0.5 percent, recovering after Wednesday's 52.05-point drop. But losers outnumbered winners 4 to 1, and other major market indexes closed lower.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the Labor Department reported today that first-time filings for jobless benefits rose by 16,000, to 350,000, for the week ending November 1 — double the increase that analysts had expected. Claims for the week of October 25 shocked Wall Street by falling to 297,000, after a rise of around 310,000 in previous weeks. The current level is still a sign of a particularly tight labor market.