Japan's central bank started the day with an announcement that it would expand its stimulus program in an effort to breathe life into the country's flagging economy.
The news was welcomed by investors. Japan's Nikkei reversed early losses and closed 2.2% higher, the yen weakened against the dollar, and the yield on Japanese 10-year notes fell to their lowest level since 2003.
Next up: the Bank of England left rates at 0.5% and maintained its asset purchasing program. And finally, the European Central Bank also kept rates steady at 0.75%.
"Central banks, central banks, central banks. That's what people are watching," said Paul Powers, head of trading at Raymond James. "Japan delivered, but the ECB fell flat."
ECB president Mario Draghi's comments were seen as leaving the door open to further stimulus but investors were disappointed that the central bank didn't do more in the face of weakening economic trends in the eurozone.
Federal Reserve vice chair Janet Yellen is delivering a speech at 5 p.m. ET at a Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference in Washington.
Weak U.S. economic data: The Labor Department said that initial jobless claims rose to 385,000 last week. That's more than the 345,000 analysts had expected and comes one day ahead of the government's closely watched monthly jobs report.
Economists expect 192,000 jobs to have been added in March, according to Briefing.com.
Major stock movers: Shares of Best Buy(BBY) surged 16%, after the retailer announced that it will feature boutique stores that sell Samsung products at more than 1,400 U.S. locations.