NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks mostly rose Thursday, as markets get accustomed to the idea of investing with less of a safety net from central banks around the world. The European Central Bank laid out its plan to pull back from the stimulus it's pumped into markets, but it also said it plans to hold off on raising interest rates for longer than some investors expected.

NEW YORK (AP) — More evidence that the U.S. economy is improving helped send the S&P 500 to its fourth gain in the last five days. The S&P 500 index rose 6.86 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,782.49. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 25.89, or 0.1 percent, to 25,175.31, and the Nasdaq composite rose 65.34, or 0.8 percent, to 7,761.04, a record.

NEW YORK (AP) — Benchmark U.S. crude rose 25 cents to settle at $66.89 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 80 cents to $75.94. Gold rose $7.00 to settle at $1,308.30 per ounce.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is closing in on a decision to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as early as Friday. It's a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Shares of H&R Block were down for the second day in a row following the tax preparer's announcement that it would shutter 400 offices. The closures are in response to a new tax law that could simplify the average American's return.