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Dow, Nasdaq in the money for ’15

Dow, Nasdaq in the money for ’15

Stocks are gaining Thursday on Wall Street as oil’s wild price ride continues. Global stock markets were volatile as the European standoff over Greece’s bailout intensified. As of 2 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite are each up 0.8% to 1% range. The Dow — up around 175 points — and Nasdaq are now positive for 2015, while the S&P 500 briefly topped its 2014 close before slipping just below it.635587251264219246-GTY-462715874-70544052

Investors who owned shares of Hospira woke up much richer Thursday after Pfizer bought the injectable drugmaker for $90 a share, a premium of nearly 40% from Wednesday night’s close. Oil prices on the U.S. market — hammered over the past several months and volatile of late — is on a sharp upward path, up 6%. Meanwhile, the U.S. trade deficit widened substantially to its highest level in more than two years in December as the strong dollar hurt exports and bolstered imports.

The trade gap jumped $6.8 billion, or 17%, to $46.6 billion, highest since November 2012. Economists expected a decline to $38 billion. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index dipped 1% to 17,504.62 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.4%. The Shanghai Composite dropped 1%. Germany’s DAX ended down a scant 0.05% after roller coastering mostly in the red during the day. Britain’s FTSE 100 ended up 0.1% at the end of slow climb out of negative territory. France’s CAC 40 gained 0.2%.

Greek shares plummeted Thursday after the European Central Bank said it would stop offering government-backed credit to banks there. The volatile Athens stock exchange fell as much as 10% before recovering slightly to end down 3.3%. Greece’s new government is insisting it will stick to its anti-austerity agenda. Benchmark U.S. crude was back above $50 a barrel. The contract was up 5.5% in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 4.5% to $58.77 in London.

China’s move to boost lending was a positive factor for markets. China late Wednesday cut the minimum level of reserves its banks are required to hold in a new move to reverse a deepening economic slowdown. Stocks closed mixed in volatile trading Wednesday as oil prices broke a four-day rally and plunged almost 9% on a jump in crude supplies.