By Sruthi Shankar
(Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Thursday as fears of a global trade war eased after President Donald Trump promised great flexibility toward the United States' "real friends" as he prepared to impose hefty import tariffs.
But a White House spokeswoman's announcement that Trump's tariffs plan may include "potential carve-outs for Mexico and Canada based on national security, and possibly other countries as well" helped the U.S. markets recover on Wednesday.
Trump had been expected to sign a proclamation imposing 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum later in the day, but this could slide into Friday.
Express Scripts was among the top boosts to the S&P 500, rising 14 percent after health insurer Cigna agreed to buy the pharmacy benefits manager for $54-billion deal. Cigna shares slipped 7.6 percent.
American Eagle Outfitters turned 9 percent lower after trading up premarket.
A Labor Department report showed initial jobless claims rebounded from a more than 48-year low last week, but the trend continued to point to robust labor market conditions.
A comprehensive reading on jobs and wage is expected on Friday. The average hourly earnings is expected to slow to 2.8 percent in February on an annualized basis, from 2.9 percent in January.
Investors are worried that higher wages could lead to faster interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve and make borrowing expensive for companies.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,835 to 606. On the Nasdaq, 1,641 issues rose and 655 fell.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Parikshit Mishra; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)