Stocks finished higher on Thursday. The Dow climbed 260 points to 23,138, reversing a decline of more than 600 points earlier in the session. The S&P 500 added 21 points to 2,488, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 25 points to 6,579.
The major averages each erased a morning pullback of more than 2%, continuing the pattern of sharp swings in afternoon trading that has persisted throughout the fourth quarter. The wild session followed a Wednesday rally that saw the Dow post its first-ever 1,000 point gain, and the best session for the S&P 500 since 2009. On the data front, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence gauge slipped to a five-month low of 128.1 in December, from the previous month’s upwardly revised reading of 136.4.
All 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in positive territory with the Materials and Financials leading gains. Consumer Staples also outperformed with Proctor and Gamble adding 2.1% to $92.02. The Consumer Discretionary group which led the rally Wednesday was a notable underperformer, with Amazon off 0.6% to $1461.64. In corporate news, JD.com gained 2.8% to $21.70 after the Chinese ecommerce company announced plans to divide its primary unit into three parts.
Breadth was positive on issues by 2:1 on the NYSE and was even on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE volume was more than 4.0 billion shares.
Treasuries modestly strengthened with the yield on the 10-year note off three basis points to 2.78%. In commodities, WTI crude lost 3.5% to $44.61/barrel. COMEX gold added 0.6% to $1,277.30/ounce.