NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks looked set to finish higher Thursday after working their way through oversold conditions precipitated by the steep declines of the prior session.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
Must Read: Here Are 20 Stocks That Could Buck the Odds and Do Well in October
"If current levels hold, today is setting up to be a key reversal for the broad equity averages," said Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer, "While trading could remain choppy, we've been recommending that our fast money traders take long positions with a protective stop placed below today's low."
Watch the video below for a closer look at how U.S. markets are doing in midday trading Thursday:
For much of the day, stocks were bouncing around the flat line. Jim Kee, president and chief economist for South Texas Money Management, said the action was merely a function of Wednesday's selloff and nothing happening outside of expectations, adding that U.S. equities continue to look attractive relative to other assets.
Kee said U.S. equities are currently not in overvalued or undervalued territory, having just moved up to where they are trading roughly in line with longer-term averages.
"It's not cheap but it's not widely expensive either. It's still a lot cheaper than it was going into 2007 and 2009," he said. Meanwhile, while many international stocks appear cheaper they also come with more risks, Kee pointed out. For instance, European stocks have been tied to lower economic growth and more uncertainty due to Europe's proximity to Russia. Many emerging market equities including Latin American stocks are connected to slowing China growth.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Thursday provided little indication of how big a boost to liquidity the global financial markets might see from the ECB. Draghi said during Thursday's post-meeting press conference that the bank has laid out the main details of its asset-backed securities and covered bonds purchase programs, but in his opening statement didn't divulge any detail on how aggressive the measures would be. He said he expects these to be two-year programs, with the asset-backed securities purchases starting in the fourth quarter and the buying of covered bonds to begin in mid-October. He once again reinforced the ECB's openness to additional stimulus measures and unconventional tools if needed.
The ECB announced earlier Thursday that it was keeping its key refinancing rate at a record low 0.05%.
U.S. factory orders fell 10.1% in August, their largest drop on record. Economists were expecting a 9.3% decline.
Jobless claims fell by 8,000 to 287,000 last week, bringing the four-week moving average down to 294,750, the Labor Department reported. Claims of 297,000 were expected.
In top company headlines, Pacific Investment Management Co. said investors withdrew a record $23.5 billion from its flagship Pimco Total Return Fund last month, with most of the withdrawals taking place last Friday, the day Bill Gross resigned from the firm and announced he was joining Janus (JNS) .
Wayfair (W) jumped nearly 30% in its trading debut on Thursday, bringing the value of the online furniture retailer to more than $3 billion.