Stocks stage comeback, Nasdaq rises after wild ride

U.S. stocks clawed back from deep losses on Thursday with the Nasdaq Composite closing the session over 29 points higher, while the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished well off their lows of the day.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 32244.58 +382.60 +1.20%
SP500 S&P 500 3951.57 +34.93 +0.89%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 11675.537599 +45.02 +0.39%

The Dow ended the session down 79 points clawing back from a loss of over 700 points in what was a volatile session. The S&P 500 posted fractional losses as investors enagaged in late day buying of consumer discretionary and tech stocks. Large cap names including IBM, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Netflix and Cisco all posted gains.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
FB n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
NFLX NETFLIX INC. 305.13 +1.63 +0.54%
CSCO CISCO SYSTEMS INC. 50.94 +0.75 +1.49%

At one point during the session, all three of the major U.S. averages were down over 3-percent putting each back in the red for the 2018 year. The late day turn around has the averages now little changed on an annual basis.

The sectors that failed to trim losses included financials and energy stocks. U.S. crude prices remain under pressure sitting at the $51 per barrel level after OPEC agreed to a production cut following the December meeting.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
USO UNITED STATES OIL FUND L.P. 59.80 +1.15 +1.96%

While there was no obvious catalyst for the epic turnaround it did seem to coincide with a report released in the final hour of trading by the Wall Street Journal that suggested the Federal Reserve is considering adopting a wait-and-see policy on future rate rises. Policymakers will hold their final meeting of the year on December 18-19 and are expected to raise interest rates at the conclusion.

Early selling was driven by ongoing tensions between the U.S. and China over the arrest of a senior Huawei telecoms executive. CFO Meng Wanzhou, 46, was arrested in Vancouver this week, but faces extradition to the U.S. Although the specific charge or charges against the daughter of Huawei’s founder were not disclosed, the U.S. is investigating the company for possibly violating American trade sanctions against Iran.

On Thursday, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang urged both the U.S. and Canada to clarify the reasons for detention and “immediately release the detained person,” according to the Guardian.

Investors also kept a close watch on the bond market. The yield on the benchmark 10-year treasury dipped further to 2.89 percent, the lowest level since August 31, 2018.

Friday could bring another round of volatility with the jobs report for the month of November. U.S. employers likely added 200,000 positions, slightly less than the prior month's 250,000. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 3.7 percent the lowest level since 1969. Wages, tracked via average hourly earnings, are expected to see a slightly rise of 0.3 percent.

FOX Business' Mike Obel contributed to this report.