The Nasdaq briefly turned negative on Thursday, weighed down by declines in shares of technology bellwethers such as Microsoft , but the Dow and S&P 500 advanced on strength in financials.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 53.92 points, or 0.74 percent, to 7,324.81. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 6.57 points, or 0.86 percent, to 771.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 2.37 points, or 0.17 percent, to 1,427.80.

(Editing by James Dalgleish)