US stocks rose on Thursday. The S&P 500 rose 0.6 percent to a five-year high of 1,480.94.
Helping to boost investor sentiment in the US on Thursday was the report of a 12.1 percent rise in housing starts in December. Building permits also rose, albeit by a more subdued 0.3 percent.
In addition, initial claims for unemployment benefits decreased by 37,000 to 335,000 last week, the fewest since January 2008.
On the negative side, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index dropped to minus 5.8 from 4.6 in December.