Stocks rallied strongly in the latest session. The Dow was up 276 points or 2.5 percent. Both the S&P and the Nasdaq were up about 3 percent.
Asian stock markets struggled for direction today. The Nikkei rose 0.3 percent and South Korea's Kospi rose 1.1 percent. Shares in mainland China and Thailand dropped. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.8 percent.
Oil prices fell below $89 a barrel Thursday in Asia after a U.S. energy report showed mixed signals about demand. Benchmark oil for October delivery was down 53 cents to $88.81 at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude jumped $3.32, or 3.9 percent, to settle at $89.34 on Wednesday.
President Barack Obama's big jobs speech to a joint session of Congress is today. He'll present an economic plan aimed at creating jobs and forcing Republicans to own the problem with him. Obama is likely to offer at least a $300 billion package that includes tax relief and spending.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says the economic recovery in the U.S. and rich nations in Europe will stagnate or go into reverse by year-end. The OECD predicts the U.S. economy will grow at only a 0.4 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter, while the three largest economies in the eurozone will contract by 0.4 percent in that period.