NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rose broadly Thursday, helped by a 6 percent jump in the price of oil and a rise in health care stocks following Pfizer's $16 billion deal to buy drugmaker Hospira.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 165 points, or 0.9 percent, to 17,836 as of 3:15 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 16 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,059 and the Nasdaq composite rose 37 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,754. The S&P 500 and Dow have now turned positive for 2015.
LET'S MAKE A DEAL: Drug giant Pfizer said it would buy Hospira, a maker of injectable drugs, for $90 a share, or $16 billion in cash. The deal is the first by Pfizer since it walked away from a merger with AstraZeneca last year. Like many other large drug companies, Pfizer is trying to generate more sales as its blockbuster drugs go generic. Hospira soared $22.79, or 35 percent, to $87.59 and Pfizer rose $1.02, or 3 percent, to $33.10.
PRESSURE: In Europe, Greek stocks dropped as tensions between the country's new left-wing government and the European Central Bank intensified.
Greece's new left-wing government is insisting it will stick to its anti-austerity agenda, hours after the European Central Bank tightened the screws on Athens by withdrawing a key borrowing option for the country's banks.
The ECB said late Wednesday it would no longer accept Greece's junk-rated government bonds as collateral when Greek banks need to borrow money, as prospects for a new deal with bailout creditors appear uncertain. Greece's new finance minister also failed to convince his German counterpart to back a new approach on Greece's debt as the two met for the first time since Syriza swept to power in Athens.
Greek stocks dropped 3 percent on the news. European stocks closed mostly flat, after being down more sharply earlier in the trading day.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "The decision by the ECB to no longer accept Greek bonds as collateral may be aimed at piling the pressure on Greece to request an extension of its current bailout beyond February 28, but it is has also raised the risk that Greece could be forced into a default," said Jane Foley, an analyst at Rabobank International.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose $2.03 to settle at $50.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, continuing its volatile ride the commodity has experience for the last several weeks. On Wednesday, oil plunged $4.60, or 8.7 percent, to settle at $48.45 a barrel the day before after the U.S. government reported an increase in crude inventories last week.
Few investors or analysts believe oil's wild ride is ending any time soon. While data earlier this week showed U.S. production is slowing down -- thereby putting a floor on oil prices -- this week's crude oil inventory levels tells a different story.
"We're starting to see some production shifts, but it's happening slowly," said Gabriela Santos, a global market strategist with JPMorgan Funds. "Oil is going to keep making these big swings until something is done to deal with all this oversupply."
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose $2.50 to $56.66 a barrel in London.
SOARING SONY: Sony jumped 3 percent after the Japanese electronics and entertainment company lowered its loss projection for the fiscal year late Wednesday, and said it expected the hack at its movie division to have minimal impact in the long run. Sony's U.S.-listed shares rose 80 cents to $26.76.
GET THE BALL ROLLING: Ball Corp., a metal packaging maker, jumped on news reports the company is in merger talks a British packaging rival Rexam. Both companies control roughly 21 percent of the beverage can market, according to Reuters.
Ball was up $5.74, or 9 percent, to $72.61, while Rexam was up 90 cents, or 20 percent, to $5.38 in London.
BONDS: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.82 percent.
METALS: Gold fell $1.80 to $1,262.70 an ounce, silver fell 20 cents to $17.20 an ounce and copper was flat at $2.60 a pound.