Wall Street staged a modest rally on Thursday as oil prices recorded their biggest gain this year and ECB President Mario Draghi raised hopes of further stimulus.
Seven of 10 major S&P 500 sectors rose, with a 3.3 percent jump in energy stocks leading the way.
Helping global and U.S. stocks, the European Central Bank kept its main rates on hold and Draghi said the central bank would "review and possibly reconsider" its monetary policy as early as March. Many analysts had not expected a rate cut before June.
Also boosting share prices, oil spiked from a 12-year low after U.S. crude stockpiles did not rise as much as feared.
In the prior session, the relentless drop in oil prices and fears of a China-led global economic slowdown sent the S&P 500 to its lowest since October 2014.
A lack of upbeat technical measures made some investors doubt that Thursday's gains would hold, and many remained cautious the market could fall further.
In afternoon trade, 4,705 stocks advanced in U.S. markets while 2,903 fell.
"We need to see at least two sessions in close proximity where upside volume exceeds downside volume by at least 10 to 1," said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W. Baird & Co in Nashville. "That would tell us that the momentum has been broken."
With fourth-quarter reporting season underway, S&P 500 companies on average are expected to post 4.5 percent lower earnings, according to Thomson Reuters data. But excluding the badly bruised energy sector, earnings are seen growing 1.6 percent.
At 2:47 pm, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.75 percent at 15,884.23 points and the S&P 500 gained 0.55 percent to 1,869.6.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.16 percent at 4,478.87.
Home Depot gave the biggest boost to the Dow, rising 2.9 percent after JP Morgan said warm weather could help the home improvement company.
Kinder Morgan surged 16 percent as the pipeline company outlined plans to cut debt and spending, raising the chances of a higher dividend.
Union Pacific fell 3.5 percent after the railroad operator said weak business conditions would persist in 2016, a warning that also weighed on its peers.
The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and 11 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 4 new highs and 77 new lows.
(Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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Updated Date: Jan 22, 2016 02:30 AM