U.S. stocks closed higher, boosted by a rebound in Apple Inc., after swinging in a wide range amid light volume a week before the Federal Reserve makes a decision on interest rates.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 0.5 percent to 1,952.23 at 4 p.m. in New York, after rising as much as 1.2 percent.

Investors assessed data today showing fewer Americans lined up last week to file for jobless benefits, highlighting the persistent strength of the labor market. Claims for unemployment insurance fell by 6,000 to 275,000 in the week ended Sept. 5, matching a Bloomberg survey of economists’ forecasts. A report yesterday showed job openings surged to a record in July, as hiring cooled, a sign employers are having a hard time finding qualified workers amid tightening labor market.

As investors anxiously await the Fed’s looming decision on whether to raise rates this month, policy makers at the Bank of England said today that market turmoil related to China’s slowdown hasn’t shaken their view that the time for a rate increase is approaching. Similar to recent comments from Fed officials, the BOE also stuck to its view that inflation will start to pick up around the turn of the year.

With the timing of the Federal Reserve’s first rate increase since 2006 taking center stage, traders remain confident the Fed will raise borrowing costs this year. They’re pricing in a 28 percent chance the central bank will increase rates next week, down from 48 percent before China’s devaluation, while odds of a move at the December gathering are about 60 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Source: Bloomberg