"We're having a fragile recovery, with the pain of 2008 still fresh on everybody's mind," said Joe Heider, principal at Rehmann Group outside Cleveland. "It's fear of the unknown. And fear is one of the greatest drivers of the financial markets."
Stocks turn upward on hints of 'fiscal cliff' deal →
Mr. Heider said he thought the latest report on jobless claims was consistent with an economy that was improving, but only incrementally.
Stocks up as job market improves; stimulus chatter →