The S&P 500 and Dow closed higher on Thursday in choppy trading as traders had an eye on Europe where leaders sought to reassure markets that a solution to the debt crisis would come soon.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 36.94 points, or 0.32 percent, to 11,541.56. The S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 5.46 points, or 0.45 percent, to 1,215.34. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> slipped 5.42 points, or 0.21 percent, to 2,598.62.

(Editing by Kenneth Barry)