Updated from 4:10 p.m. EDT

U.S. stocks capped off a day of jumbled trading and wild swings with a mixed finish Thursday afternoon, as blue-chips logged decent gains and technology shares tumbled.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which traded down as much as 275 points in the session, finished up 172.04 points, or 2%, at 8691.25. The S&P 500 tacked on 11.34 points, or 1.3%, to 908.12. The Nasdaq, however, ended down 11.84 points, or 0.7%, at 1603.91.

The upswing in blue-chip stocks was led in part by the energy sector. Integrated oil firms Chevron ( CVX) and ExxonMobil ( XOM) were among the Dow's leaders. Chevron added 8.2% to $66.77, and ExxonMobil gained 9% to $70.39.

Crude oil futures gained $1.09 to settle at $67.84 a barrel.

"Right now it looks like we're seeing a bit of a reaction to yesterday's selloff," said Darin Newsom, senior commodities analyst at DTN. He said that the move higher for oil futures and energy stocks may be short-covering ahead of an OPEC meeting on Friday, during which the cartel is expected to cut production.

However, the larger issue is demand, said Newsom. "There's something like 20 countries listed in a recessionary category at this time. ... It's going to take more to turn the oil industry, oil futures, oil stocks around in the long term," he said.

On Wednesday, stocks sold off steadily as many companies, citing an impending economic downturn, cautioned investors not to expect much in coming months.

The new day's economic data lent support to U.S. companies' cautious prognostications. The Department of Labor's jobless numbers for the week ended Oct. 18 unexpectedly rose by 15,000 to 478,000. Economists were expecting 468,000 unemployment claims for the week.

In addition, home foreclosures were up 71% year over year to 766,000 for the third quarter as home prices declined, according to RealtyTrac. Separately, the Federal Housing and Finance Agency said its home price index slipped 0.6% from July to August and fell 5.9% year over year.

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