NEW YORK — Following a rough start, the major U.S. stock indexes veered higher in afternoon trading Thursday to recover from Wednesday's slide.
Energy companies led the rally, climbing along with the price of crude oil. The gains came a day after the market had its worst drop since September. Exxon Mobil and Chevron each jumped about 5 percent, by far the largest gains in the Dow Jones industrial average.
After an early, rough start Thursday, stocks finally shot higher with the Dow jumping more than 300 points before moderating its gains after Wednesday's brutal sell-off that sent the broad U.S. stock market down more than 10% from their highs.
After bouncing up and down around early Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 228, or 1.4 percent.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 1.7 percent. The Nasdaq composite index increase by two percent.
"You're seeing a little bit of surprise on oil prices coming back up," said Terry DuFrene, global investment specialist at J. P. Morgan Private Bank.
The market is coming off a broad downturn on Wednesday that sent the S&P 500 index into what's known as a correction, or a drop of 10 percent or more from a peak. The slump through the first eight trading days of 2016 represents the worst start to a year in the history of both the S&P 500 and the Dow. The turbulent run reflects mounting worries on Wall Street about the slowdown in China, plunging oil prices and the implications for U.S. corporations.
The 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index rose, with energy notching the biggest gain, 4.1 percent. Williams Cos. led the gainers, adding $2.27, or 16.7 percent, to $15.88.
Exxon Mobil added $3.83, or 5.1 percent, to $79.48, while Chevron rose $3.76, or 4.6 percent, to $85.09. Freeport-McMoRan gained 35 cents, or 9.4 percent, to $4.09. NRG Energy rose 66 cents, or 6.7 percent, to $10.48.
JPMorgan Chase rose 2.9 percent after the bank reported earnings that were better than analysts expected. The stock added $1.67 to $59.02.
Best Buy slid 9.2 percent after the electronics store operator reported a drop in sales during the holiday season. The company also said it expects a wider drop in fourth-quarter revenue, partly on weak mobile phone and personal device sales. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500 index. It shed $2.70 to $26.56.
GoPro slumped 16.4 percent a day after the wearable camera maker disclosed plans to eliminate about 100 jobs. The move comes after the company's fourth-quarter sales fell far short of its expectations. GoPro lost $2.39 to $12.22.
A day after U.S. crude oil briefly fell below $30 a barrel for the first time since late 2003, it was up 79 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $31.27 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 22 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $30.50 a barrel in London.