The S&P 500 Index is up 1.55 points, or 0.14 percent, to trade at 1,147.16 at 3:24 pm EST. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 25.39 points, or 0.24 percent, to trade at 10,592.72. The Nasdaq Composite is up 0.14 percent.
Financials have performed well the entire session. Citigroup (NYSE:C) continued to surge, gaining 4.04 percent. KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) is up 3.57 percent, Zions Bancorp (NASDAQ:ZION) is up 4.73 percent, and Discover Financial (NYSE:DFS) gained 3.62 percent.
Health care firms rallied in the afternoon, with Coventry (NYSE:CVH) gaining 2.65 percent, Aetna (NYSE:AET) gaining 2.53 percent, and Health Net (NYSE:HNT) gaining 1.79 percent.
At 9:00 pm EST on Wednesday, China's National Bureau of Statistics released a slew of data, including the CPI which showed that consumer prices increased 2.7 percent year-on-year in February, higher than the expected 2.5 increase, according to Bloomberg.
Futures on the S&P 500 dropped ahead of the announcements on concerns that Chinese authorities may take aggressive steps to withdraw liquidity in order to address inflationary concerns.
U.S. unemployment claims, released at 8:30 am EST on Thursday, declined by 6,000 from the previous week to 462,000. However, the report failed to spark a rally in the morning session as it narrowly missed expectations, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.