Stocks on Wall Street close higher on Thursday

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(Close): US stocks ended higher on Thursday, as investors eyed Friday's April jobs report after first-quarter US economic growth was lower than expected.

The Dow Jones rose 82.08 points to finish at 17,924.06.

The S&P 500 gained 7.85 points to 2,088.00, while the Nasdaq index added 25.90 points to 4,945.54.

Shares in Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba jumped 7.5% following its latest results.

The company said revenues rose 45% to $2.8bn in the three months to the end of March, which is the final quarter of the firm's financial year.

Alibaba also announced a new chief executive, Daniel Zhang, who is currently Alibaba's chief operating officer. He will take over as boss from Jonathan Lu.

However, the biggest riser on Thursday was Yelp, which saw its shares surge by nearly 23% after a report said the online review site was considering a sale.

Whole Food Markets saw its shares dive 9.7% after it said sales grew by 3.6% in the three months to 12 April. This was down from 4.5% growth in the previous quarter and well below analysts' expectations of a rise of 5.3%.

Investors are also awaiting the release of the US jobs figures for April.

There was encouraging news earlier on Thursday, when the US Department of Labor said the number of new claims for unemployment benefits remained near a 15-year low last week,

Although claims rose by 3,000 to 265,000, a figure below 300,000 is considered to imply that the jobs market is improving.