Desmoines News Desk

Dow up about 200: S&P 500 looks to end skid

Dow up about 200: S&P 500 looks to end skid

Stock prices are up sharply Wednesday following the worst-three session start to a new year since 2008 amid rising hopes for more aggressive monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank after worsening inflation data in the Eurozone.the-percentage-of-americans-playing-the-stock-market-is-at-an-all-time-low

As of 12:23 p.m. ET, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite are each up 1.2% — including a 202-point gain for the Dow. The large-company S&P 500 stock index is trying to snap a five-session losing streak, its longest in more than a year.

The blue-chip Dow is currently on pace for its best point gain since Dec. 18. U.S. stocks also got a boost from some solid economic data. Payroll processor ADP reported that 241,000 private sector jobs were created in December, topping expectations. The strong jobs report helps confirm that the U.S. economy ended 2014 with solid momentum, analysts say.

And the U.S. trade deficit, helped by a sharp drop in energy prices, dipped more than expected to $39 billion. The improved deficit number prompted Barclays to up its fourth-quarter U.S. GDP estimate to 3.5% from 2.7%. Eurozone annual inflation in December fell 0.2%, its first annual decline since October 2009, according to Barclays. The negative inflation reading sparked fresh fears that the Eurozone is in danger of falling into a deflationary spiral amid an economy that is now contracting.