(Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks rose, halting a three- day drop in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, after a report showed applications for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in almost two months.

Johnson Controls Inc., the largest U.S. auto-parts maker, climbed 7 percent after increasing a stock-repurchase program by $3 billion. General Motors Co. advanced 2.3 percent after the U.S. Treasury Department said it plans to sell its remaining stake in the company, possibly by year end. Target Corp. lost 4.1 percent after earnings declined as U.S. consumers curtailed spending.

Subscribe Now

Access to premium content including in-depth coverage of mutual funds, hedge funds, 401(K)s, 529 plans, and more.

3-Week Free Trial

Insight and analysis into the management, marketing, operations and technology of the asset management industry.