Stock indexes rose on Thursday after weekly claims for unemployment benefits fell below a key level for the first time since early April, but the session was predicted to be volatile ahead of a key vote later in the day on a bill to cut the U.S. deficit.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 24.30 points, or 0.20 percent, to 12,326.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 1.68 points, or 0.13 percent, to 1,306.57. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.74 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,766.53.