Hopes for European economic stimulus lift stocks; higher oil prices also boost shares

MarketsAssociated Press

Another choppy day on Wall Street is ending with stocks higher on hopes for new stimulus for Europe's economy and on a sharp rise in oil.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose nine points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 2,032 Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 39 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,554. The Nasdaq gained 12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,667.

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Stocks flitted between gains and losses early, but eventually rose on reports that new stimulus measures by the European Central Bank are likely to be as large as investors anticipated. The bank is expected to unveil a massive bond-buying program Thursday.

All 10 sectors of the S&P 500 rose. Oil prices helped push the energy sector up 1.8 percent, the biggest gainer.