Wall Street gained on Thursday, a day ahead of the key monthly jobs report, as shares of Apple rebounded from its biggest drop in four years that helped boost technology shares.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 40 points, or 0.30%, to 13,074 at the close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added five points, or 0.33%, to 1,414. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 16 points, or 0.52%, to close at 2,989.
Equities fell earlier after the European Central Bank forecast the economy will shrink 0.5% this year, more than the 0.4% contraction it predicted in September. The ECB cut its 2013 forecast to a contraction of 0.3%.
Investors shunned heavy betting a day before the Friday release of the November employment report, which are expected to show a sharp slowdown in jobs growth largely due to the impact of Superstorm Sandy.
Traders also weighed the "fiscal cliff" negotiations in Washington to see if lawmakers can arrive at a deal to avoid a series of spending cuts and tax hikes beginning in January.
Technology shares jumped after Apple climbed 1.6%, reversing earlier losses. The stock rebounded from its biggest one-day drop in four years on Wednesday. Akamai Technologies Inc. increased 10% after agreeing to sell services with AT&T Inc.
Semiconductor stocks gained after Broadcom forecast fourth-quarter revenue at the high end of its target range. Broadcom's stock rose 3.2%.
Consumer discretionary sector was lifted by Starbucks Corp shares' advance of 5.7% after Baird upgraded the stock to "outperform".
H&R Block climbed 5.1% after the company reported a quarterly loss that was narrower than expected.
Sirius XM Radio rose 0.7% after its board approved a $2 billion stock repurchase and declared a special dividend that gave a big payout to its largest shareholder, Liberty Media. Shares of Liberty climbed 2.7%.
Garmin shares surged 5.7% after Standard & Poor's said it would add the navigation device maker to the S&P 500 index. Garmin will replace R.R. Donnelley & Sons.
In Asia, shares climbed on Friday in morning trade as fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits and Australia’s building industry contracted at a slower pace.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.3% to 126 as of 10:30 a.m. Tokyo time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 1%. South Korea’s Kospi Index rose 0.5%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index increased 0.2%, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.3%.