Stocks recovered to positive territory by late morning Thursday as a rally in energy stocks overshadowed a selloff in the health care sector.
The S&P 500 was up 0.45%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.29%, and the Nasdaq increased 0.79%.
Crude oil jumped on reports Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak had spoken with Saudi Arabian officials to cut production by up to 5% in light of weaker prices. Novak also said members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-member countries had proposed a future meeting to discuss strategy given a weaker commodities environment, according to Reuters. West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped 2.7% to $33.18 a barrel.
"While the potential for a significant bullish stimulus exists in this situation, diplomatic and strategic obstacles -- notably Russia and Saudi Arabia's differing views on the Syrian government and the latter's obstinate dedication to the defense of market share -- will prove major hindrances to cooperation," T. Austin Sapp, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric, wrote in a note.
The energy sector was the best performer as large-cap oilers including Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Get Report , Chevron (CVX) - Get Report , Schlumberger (SLB) - Get Report , and ConocoPhillips (COP) - Get Report jumped. The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) - Get Report rose 2.6%.
Health care was the worst performer on markets Thursday with major drugmakers Pfizer (PFE) - Get Report , Merck (MRK) - Get Report , Gilead Sciences (GILD) - Get Report and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) - Get Report lower. The Health Care SPDR ETF (XLV) - Get Report tumbled 1.3%.
Facebook jumped 14% after reaching $1 billion in quarterly profit for the first time. The social network beat analysts' estimates on its top- and bottom-lines with results driven by increased advertising demand.
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Ford climbed 1.6% after swinging back to profit in its fourth quarter thanks to strong demand in North America. Revenue climbed 12% to $40.3 billion, lifted by growth in U.S. sales and demand for its pickup trucks.
Pending home sales came in weaker than expected in December. The index measuring the number of deals in which a contract has been signed but a purchase not yet closed climbed to 106.8 in December, up from 106.7 in November.
Durable goods orders in the U.S. contracted at a much faster pace than expected in December as the U.S. economy saw a slight slowdown to close out 2015. Durable goods fell 5.1% over the month, its biggest decline since August, compared to an expected 0.6% decline. The drop was driven by less demand for aircraft and parts, both in the defense and non-defense industries.
The labor market continued to show resilience after initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 16,000 to 278,000 in the week ended Jan. 23. Economists had expected the number of new claims to fall to 285,000. The four-week jobless claims average, a less volatile measure, fell 2,250 to 283,000.
Deutsche Bank (DB) - Get Report tumbled 4% after closing out 2015 with a loss, its first since 2008. The bank reported a loss of 1.15 billion euros in its fourth quarter compared to a net profit of 323 million euros a year earlier.
Caterpillar (CAT) - Get Report moved 6% higher after issuing a solid profit forecast for the full year despite weakened demand for mining and oil equipment. The machinery maker said it expects earnings of $4 a share in 2016, higher than estimates of $3.48, as reduced pension and benefits costs boost the bottom-line.
Under Armour (UA) - Get Report surged 18% after exceeding fourth-quarter expectations and issuing strong growth prospects for the full year. The athletic apparel retailer said it expects revenue of $4.95 billion for fiscal 2016, above estimates of $4.91 billion.
eBay (EBAY) - Get Report tumbled 9% after it reduced first-quarter guidance. The online auction site said it expects earnings between 43 cents and 45 cents a share in its current quarter, below forecasts of 48 cents a share.
PayPal (PYPL) - Get Report climbed 8% following better-than-expected earnings. The payments-processing company earned 36 cents a share, 2 cents above estimates, while revenue of $2.56 billion exceeded forecasts of $2.51 billion.
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SanDisk (SNDK) added 2% after beating lowered estimates in its fourth quarter. The chipmaker earned an adjusted $1.26 a share, far higher than estimates of 89 cents a share. Revenue fell 11% to $1.54 billion, surpassing forecasts.
Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get Report slid more than 4% after quarterly profit tumbled on weaker demand for smartphone chips. The company reported a 24% dip in earnings, though earnings per share of 97 cents did manage to exceed estimates.
Stocks slumped to session lows in the final hours of trading on Wednesday following the release of the Federal Reserve's statement from its latest policy meeting. The central bank kept a potential March rate hike in play. However, it did downgrade its outlook for U.S. household spending and business investment and noted that economic growth slowed to end last year.