Wall Street up on ECB bets but details, IBM cap gains

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

BY RODRIGO CAMPOS

U.S. stocks edged up in a choppy Wednesday session as traders digested reports that new stimulus would be announced by the European Central Bank at its Thursday meeting, while declines in IBM limited gains.

Market participants have been looking for more aggressive measures from central banks, specifically the ECB, to combat the risk of deflation and a weakening euro zone economy.

A source told Reuters the ECB’s Executive Board has proposed a program that would enable the bank to buy 50 billion euros ($58 billion) in bonds per month starting in March. ECB President Mario Draghi will speak to the media at 1330 GMT (8.30 a.m. EST) on Thursday.

“The ECB rumor was very important. The market’s perception was that Draghi was going to disappoint tomorrow in the magnitude” of the program, said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors in New York.

He said that regardless of the size of the expected purchase program, there are many details to be decided in terms of the assets available for purchase and how those will affect individual members of the bloc.

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