US STOCKS-Wall St finishes higher in afternoon rally as oil gains
* Jobless claims lowest in almost 15 years, oil prices rise
* Alibaba shares, Qualcomm shares tumble after results
* Indexes up: Dow 1.31 pct, S&P 0.95 pct, Nasdaq 0.98 pct (Updates with market moves, comments)
By Sinead Carew
NEW YORK, Jan 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks enjoyed a late afternoon rally and closed higher on Thursday as an upturn in oil prices and a rally in Apple and Boeing shares helped offset some disappointing earnings and lingering questions over U.S. monetary policy.
The S&P 500 had fallen as much as 0.6 percent earlier, led by energy stocks, which then reversed direction along with crude prices.
While the afternoon rise in crude was not huge, it was enough to cheer up the market after two weak days, said Randy Frederick, managing director at Charles Schwab in Austin.
"Technically the market was a little oversold, so we were in a pretty good position to bounce, so we just needed a little bit of positive news to spark an afternoon rally," he said.
The market has been advancing and retreating within a range of 200 to 300 points for some time as traders grapple with earnings reports, a strong dollar and weak oil prices and uncertainty about when U.S. interest rates will rise, said Dennis Dick, head of markets structure at Bright Trading LLC. Continuación...