Despite wild volatility this year, the S&P 500 is barely positive for the year, and it's still a coin toss whether stocks finish 2015 in the green.
"It's like a horse race," said Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P/Capital IQ. Stovall said if the market ends down this year, it would only be the second time since World War II that the third year of a presidential term was negative. But odds are that the market will be higher, even if just slightly.
Helped by a more than 4 percent jump in oil prices, the S&P 500 ended Wednesday with a 1.2 percent gain at 2,064. That gain turned it positive on the year-to-date, and it's just six points above its Dec. 31, 2014 close of 2058. The Dow rose 1 percent Wednesday, to 17,602, but it is further from breakeven and is still down 1.2 percent year to date.
Stocks looked set to open little changed Thursday.