NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 31: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on the last day of the trading year on December 31, 2018 in New York City. Despite a continued strong economy and low unemployment, 2018 proved to be a volatile year in the financial markets with numerous record breaking trading sessions.The Dow finished up over 250 points on the final day of 2018.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 31: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on the last day of the trading year on December 31, 2018 in New York City. Despite a continued strong economy and low unemployment, 2018 proved to be a volatile year in the financial markets with numerous record breaking trading sessions.The Dow finished up over 250 points on the final day of 2018. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:23
Stocks swing on first trading day of 2019
American flags hang oustside of the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
PHOTO: Frank Franklin II/AP
American flags hang oustside of the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Now playing
01:31
Rising bond yields trigger Wall Street sell-off
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: U.S. President Joe Biden (Center R) and Vice President Kamala Harris (Center L) meet with 10 Republican senators, including Mitt Romney (R-UT), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), in the Oval Office at the White House February 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. The senators requested a meeting with Biden to propose a scaled-back $618 billion stimulus plan in response to the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Biden is currently pushing in Congress. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Pool/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: U.S. President Joe Biden (Center R) and Vice President Kamala Harris (Center L) meet with 10 Republican senators, including Mitt Romney (R-UT), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), in the Oval Office at the White House February 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. The senators requested a meeting with Biden to propose a scaled-back $618 billion stimulus plan in response to the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Biden is currently pushing in Congress. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:08
Zandi: Stimulus plan doesn't do enough for the most in need
Now playing
01:36
Michael Bolton wants you to break up with Robinhood
Now playing
03:02
Congressman: The stock market needs to protect retail investors
Now playing
03:51
GameStop investor on why he's still holding on
why it
why it's better to invest cash than save it kristen bitterly orig_00012028.png
Now playing
01:59
Holding onto your cash? History shows it's better to invest it
In this photo provided by the New York Stock Exchange, Michael Urkonis, center, works with fellow traders on the floor during the Signify Health IPO, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. Stocks edged higher on Wall Street in early trading Thursday as investors continued digesting solid corporate earnings reports and maintained confidence that a new round of government aid is on the horizon. (Courtney Crow/New York Stock Exchange via AP)
PHOTO: Courtney Crow/AP
In this photo provided by the New York Stock Exchange, Michael Urkonis, center, works with fellow traders on the floor during the Signify Health IPO, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. Stocks edged higher on Wall Street in early trading Thursday as investors continued digesting solid corporate earnings reports and maintained confidence that a new round of government aid is on the horizon. (Courtney Crow/New York Stock Exchange via AP)
Now playing
03:08
El-Erian on risks to the market rally
PHOTO: Courtesy Kearns family
Now playing
02:56
Parents of young trader who died by suicide: Robinhood is to blame
kenny polcari market overvalued and stretched orig_00013830.png
kenny polcari market overvalued and stretched orig_00013830.png
Now playing
02:32
Polcari: A healthy market pullback of 5-7% should happen
Bitcoin
PHOTO: CNN
Bitcoin
Now playing
03:17
Tesla invests $1.5 billion in bitcoin
Now playing
02:20
El-Erian: Robinhood is a reminder that 'you have no friends on Wall Street'
People walk by a GameStop store in Brooklyn on January 28, 2021 in New York City. Markets continue a volatile streak with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising over 500 points in morning trading following yesterdays losses. Shares of the video game retailer GameStop plunged. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
People walk by a GameStop store in Brooklyn on January 28, 2021 in New York City. Markets continue a volatile streak with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising over 500 points in morning trading following yesterdays losses. Shares of the video game retailer GameStop plunged. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:17
Here's why GameStop shares are plunging
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:22
His risky bet made him a millionaire on paper. It could've gone very differently
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 27: GameStop store signage is seen on January 27, 2021 in New York City. Stock shares of videogame retailer GameStop Corp has increased 700% in the past two weeks due to amateur investors. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 27: GameStop store signage is seen on January 27, 2021 in New York City. Stock shares of videogame retailer GameStop Corp has increased 700% in the past two weeks due to amateur investors. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:16
GameStop mania shakes up Wall Street
Now playing
05:26
Christine Romans: This is being fueled by the elixir of a quick profit
(CNN Business) —  

Wall Street started 2019 on a resilient note.

The Dow closed 19 points higher on Wednesday, recovering from an early plunge of 399 points that was sparked by fears about China’s slowing economy.

The S&P 500 eked out a minor gain, while the Nasdaq climbed 0.5%. That extended the Nasdaq’s win streak to five days, the longest since August.

The wild swings show that while it’s a new year, the same uncertainty is gripping markets. Investors continue to debate the seriousness of the economic slowdown at home and overseas.

Energy stocks helped spark Wednesday’s reversal. The group traded sharply higher after oil prices went from tumbling on economic worries to spiking on signs of plunging OPEC production. Saudi Arabia’s oil production tumbled by 420,000 barrels per day in December, according to a Bloomberg survey. US oil prices jumped 2.5% to $46.54 a barrel.

“The market’s turn seemed to coincide with the turn in oil prices,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Capital Management.

Luschini said investors have feared that oil’s free fall was a “canary in the coal mine” signaling trouble about the global economy.

Halliburton (HAL), Hess (HES) and EOG Resources (EOG) rose sharply.

Tech stocks like Microsoft (MSFT), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Apple (AAPL) all started the day under serious pressure before rebounding. China-sensitive stocks such as Boeing (BA) and Caterpillar (CAT) also mostly recovered from early selling. But Tesla (TSLA) tumbled 7% after cutting vehicle prices by $2,000.

China fears

Asian and European markets careened lower early on Wednesday following the release of another weak economic report out of China. New data revealed that China’s manufacturing sector contracted in December, an unsettling development for the world’s second-largest economy. It is this second time this week that data has indicated China’s huge manufacturing sector is shrinking.

“It is looking increasingly likely that the Chinese economy may come under greater downward pressure,” said Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at research firm CEBM Group, in a statement.

Regional manufacturing reports in the United States have also been weak lately. The ugly factory data only reinforces the economic slowdown fears at the heart of the Wall Street meltdown.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed 2.8% lower. The Shanghai Composite fell 1.2% and Australia’s ASX dropped 1.6%.

Despite a wild rebound during the last few days of the year, 2018 was the worst year for US stocks since the 2008 financial crisis. The S&P 500 nearly plunged into a bear market last week.

Bargain hunting

Some investors may have decided to scoop up stocks on Wednesday that have been beaten up during the recent rout. Although S&P 500 valuations got expensive last year by historical standards, price-to-earnings ratios have come down significantly because of the market plunge.

“Valuations now look appealing,” Christopher Swann, cross asset strategist at UBS Wealth Management.

Wall Street is now watching closely to see whether economic concerns translate into lower earnings – the real driver of stock prices. Companies including FedEx (FDX) have already warned of trouble due to the softness from China. Last month, analysts cut their 2019 earnings forecasts on half of the companies in the S&P 500, according to FactSet.

“Earnings will undoubtedly slow in 2019 but to what extent?” Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, wrote to clients.

CNN Business’ Daniel Shane contributed to this report.