NEW YORK – Another choppy day on Wall Street ended with stocks broadly higher on hopes of new stimulus measures for Europe's weak economy and a sharp rise in oil prices.
Stocks flitted between gains and losses at the open of trading Wednesday, then rose on media reports that new stimulus measures by the European Central Bank will be as large as many investors had hoped. The bank is expected on Thursday to unveil a massive round of government bond-buying, a program known as quantitative easing.
All 10 sectors of the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index rose. A gain in oil prices helped push the energy sector up 1.8 percent, the biggest gainer.
The bumpy market is not surprising after big stock gains last year and the year before, said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investments.
"Investors are worried the gains can't possibly last another year," he said. "Investors are really nervous. "
Investors also weighed a batch of corporate earnings reports. Netflix surged 17 percent on a jump in fourth-quarter profits. But IBM's results disappointed, and its stock dropped 3 percent.
The S&P 500 rose 9.57 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 2,032.12. It was third straight day of gains for the index. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 39.05 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,554.28.