The S&P 500 briefly turned higher and the Dow cut losses on Thursday, with technology leading the way up. The Nasdaq added to gains.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc climbed 8.4 percent to $43.62 after IMS Health said it was revising estimates of the number of prescriptions written in late September for Vertex's hepatitis C drug.

An index of semiconductors <.SOX> rose 2.2 percent.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Jan Paschal)