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Close Update: Stocks Hold Modest Gains on Oil, ECB Stimulus Expectations

Stocks maintained modest gains at Wednesday's close, buoyed by a 4% rally in oil and expectations for the European Central Bank to introduce additional stimulus measures at tomorrow's policy meeting. Although the 100-day moving average at 17,049 in the Dow Jones Industrial Average repeatedly frustrated attempts to advance, all three major indices remained positive.

Wall Street opened higher on strength in oil futures, but retreated off the high following a 0.3% buildup in wholesale inventories and 1.3% drop in sales that pushed the inventory-to-sales ratio to its highest level since 2009. Shares spent the remainder of the morning struggling to hold on to gains despite consistent strength in oil.

Later in the day, anticipation that the ECB to either expand QE, or lower the discount rate, or both, carried European equities into the close, keeping U.S. equities buoyant despite pressure on biotechs and telecom stocks.

Thursday's economic calendar is very light with only the weekly initial jobless claims data. Claims are expected to decline 3,000 to 275,000.

Here's where the markets stood at the close:

US MARKETS

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 35.92 (+0.21%) to 17,000.02

S&P 500 was up 10 (+0.51%) to 1,989.26

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 25.55 (+0.55%) to 4,674.38

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was up 0.34%

Nikkei 225 was down 0.84%

Hang Seng Index was down 0.08%

Shanghai China Composite Index was down 1.34%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) BUFF Q4 results beat estimates, issues upbeat 2016 guidance

(+) SYX Reports unexpected Q4 profit, adds CEO duties for current CFO

(+) ATSG Signs transportation deal with Amazon's ( AMZN ) Fulfillment services to serve Amazon customers

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) CSUN Considering whether to appeal Nasdaq delisting notice

(-) STEM Prices share and warrant offering

(-) BPT CAS Investment Partners pointed out that The Bank of New York Mellon Trust ( BK ) has attributed no proven reserves to BP Prudhoe Bay Trust past 2020.

(-) DSX Downgraded at Deutsche Bank to sell, PT lowered to $1.50 from $4.00

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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