US stocks advanced in early trade on Thursday after official data showed that weekly jobless claims fell last week and Consumer Price Index (CPI) climbed more than forecast in February.

The S&P 500 Index advanced 15.83 points, or 1.26 percent, to trade at 1,273.42 at 9:40 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 127.53 points, or 1.10 percent, to trade at 11,740.83. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.43 percent.

The overall consumer price inflation in the U.S. rose 0.5 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, as energy prices increased sharply. The core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy, rose 0.2 percent in January after increasing against analysts expectations of 0.1 percent gain.

The applications for jobless benefits in the U.S. fell last week, indicating an improvement in the labor market conditions of the nation. Initial jobless claims in the US dropped by 16,000 to 385,000 compared with the revised figure of 401,000 in the previous week and against markets expectations of 387,000. The 4-week moving average of initial claims decreased 7,000 to 386,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 393,250.

The Japanese government has warned residents of Tokyo that a massive blackout may occur in the metropolitan region Thursday as power demand soared overnight due to freezing temperatures. To curtail a potential blackout, the government’s Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry has requested that Tokyo-area railway operators reduce evening train service as an emergency measure.

On the corporate front, FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) shares surged 4.23 percent as its fourth quarter earnings guidance beats estimates. The company expects fourth quarter earnings to be in the range of $1.66 to $1.83 per share, while analysts’ expected earnings per share of $1.66 per share for the fourth quarter.

U.S. stocks declined to 2011 lows on Wednesday as worsening crisis at Japan nuclear reactor and weaker-than-expected housing data weighed on the sentiment.

The euro advanced 0.72 percent to 1.4000 against the dollar and the yen gained 1.21 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures advanced 1.91 percent to $99.85/barrel and gold futures rose 0.34 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading higher with FTSE 100 up by 83.69 points, DAX30 up by 148.99 points and CAC 40 up by 73.62 points.