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Stocks struggle higher in afternoon; Netflix, Etsy soar
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NEW YORK (AP) — Major stock indexes flipped from losses to gains Thursday afternoon following a rebound in crude oil prices. Major markets in Europe finished with losses amid renewed concerns that Greece could default on its debts.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 39 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,153 as of 2:34 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index inched up three points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,110 and the Nasdaq composite picked up three points, a sliver of a percent, to 5,014.

RESPONSE: Investors are trying to figure out if the recent run of uninspiring economic news will hit corporate profits, said David Lebovitz, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. At the same time, big banks and other corporations have turned in better results than Wall Street expected this week.

"There's a bit of a tug of war right now," Lebovitz said. "So far, it looks like the earnings season is off to a decent start."

HUGE QUEUE: Netflix added 4.9 million subscribers in the first three months of the year, better than any other quarter since the company started streaming video eight years ago. All told, Netflix finished March with 62 million subscribers around the world. Traders drove the company's stock up $80.87, or 17 percent, to $556.79, the biggest gain in the S&P 500.

BIG CITI: Citigroup's quarterly net income rose as the bank trimmed expenses and legal costs, which compensated for a decline in revenue. The results beat Wall Street's estimates, sending Citi's stock up 98 cents, or 2 percent, to $54.18.

EARLY LOOK: The first-quarter earnings season is supposed to be the worst in years, with analysts forecasting a 3 percent drop in earnings compared with the year before. The early results suggest things might not turn out that way. Earnings from eight out of 10 companies have come in higher than estimates, according to S&P Capital IQ.

CRUDE: U.S. benchmark crude rose 32 cents to close at $56.71 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose 54 cents to $63.86 a barrel.

JOB MARKET: The number of Americans applying for unemployment aid last week inched up for the second week in a row, the Labor Department said. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, edged up to 282,750, still close to the lowest level in nearly 15 years.

GREEK JITTERS: Mounting fears of a Greek debt default sent the country's borrowing costs surging. The latest jitters were stoked by a report Thursday in the Financial Times that Greece made an "informal approach" to the International Monetary Fund to have its bailout repayments delayed. The report, citing unnamed officials, was unsettling for investors. The yield on Greece's 10-year bonds surged to nearly 13 percent. Greece owes the IMF around 1 billion euros ($1.06 billion) next month. Many in the markets think the Greek government will struggle to make those payments if it doesn't reach an agreement with European creditors soon.

ANOTHER TAKE: "There seems little chance of talks being resolved," said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital. "A debt default looms."

EUROPE: European stock markets fell. Germany's DAX dropped 1.9 percent and France's CAC 40 lost 0.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 slid 0.5 percent.

METALS: Industrial metals surged while precious metals barely budged. Copper rose 6 cents to settle at $2.77 a pound. Gold fell $3.30 to $1,198 an ounce, and silver added a penny to $16.28 an ounce.

VINTAGE PERFORMANCE: Etsy nearly doubled in its first day of trading, The online market for handmade crafts and vintage goods raised $267 million in its initial public offering on late Wednesday, selling shares at $16 each. Etsy's stock soared $13.90 to $29.90 in afternoon trading Thursday.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: U.S. government bonds held steady, with the 10-year Treasury yield trading at 1.88 percent. The euro rose 1 percent to $1.0797, while the dollar was edged down to 118.91 yen.