NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- All sectors were joining in on a stock rebound on Thursday, recapturing some of the upward momentum enjoyed earlier in the week, as crude oil prices enjoyed a bounce back after a selloff on Wednesday.
West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 4.5% to $50.65 a barrel. Prices were pressured a day earlier after the Energy Information Administration reported an increase of 6.3 million barrels of crude to U.S. inventories in the past week, more than double estimates.
The S&P 500 added 0.83%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.84%, and the Nasdaq gained 0.69%.
Weekly jobless claims that were lower than expected boded well for the narrative of an improving labor market ahead of Friday's U.S. jobs report for January. Initial jobless claims increased 11,000 to 278,000 in the week ended Jan. 31. Economists had expected 290,000 new claims for unemployment benefits.
The trade deficit widened to $46.6 billion in December, its largest deficit since 2012. Economists had expected the deficit to narrow to $38 billion from $39.8 billion a month earlier. The latest data could prompt a negative revision to fourth-quarter GDP. The government said in its initial estimate that the U.S. economy expanded at a 2.6% rate over the quarter.
"This jump in the deficit is nothing to be overly alarmed about since, rather than a reflection of the stronger dollar, it is mostly due to the volatility of energy imports and exports," said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics. "Both the price and volume of energy imports will fall sharply in January and we would expect the monthly deficit to be back below $40 billion per month soon."
Optimism is high the U.S. can deliver another solid jobs report on Friday morning. Official U.S. nonfarm payrolls data is expected to show an increase of 230,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate is forecast to remain unchanged at 5.6%.
News the European Central Bank had lifted a waiver on using Greece's debt as collateral unsettled European markets Thursday. The move threw a curveball into an already tenuous situation. European markets have been jittery since anti-austerity party Syriza was elected into government last week, sparking fears the new Greek government could compromise conditions of its 2010 bailout package.
In good news for the eurozone, German industrial orders in December came in at their highest level since April 2008. The measure surged 4.2%, far better than a 2.4% contraction a month earlier.
Pfizer (PFE) - Get Report said it was buying Hospira (HSP) for $15.23 billion, primarily for Hospira's global foothold in the injectable drug business. The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year. Pfizer shares were up 2.9% and Hospira shares rocketed 35% higher.
AstraZeneca (AZN) - Get Report shares were down 2.4% after the biopharmaceutical company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $321 million. The company underlined that it was still making good progress toward growth by 2017.
Frontier Communications (FTR) - Get Report was up more than 5% on reports it is close to buying Verizon's (VZ) - Get Report wireless spectrum in a deal worth $10 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR) shares were lower after sales disappointed in its first quarter. The coffeemaker company said sales of its 2.0 launch got off to a slower start than planned. The stock was down more than 3%.
Michael Kors (KORS) shares fell nearly 5% after guiding for below-consensus sales for its current quarter. The luxury goods retailer expects revenue between $1.05 billion and $1.08 billion, below the $1.15 billion analysts had expected.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.