Wall Street Close: Stocks advance to add to week’s large gains
October 31, 2008
NEW YORK (AP) ” The stock market closed out a horrendous October, its worst month in 21 years, with a big advance Friday as more investors took chances on stocks turned into bargains by waves of intense selling.
The Dow Jones industrials rose 144 points on the day but ended the month down 14.1 percent, while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 16.9 percent during October as the stock market fell victim to investors’ anguish over frozen credit markets and what looked like an inevitable recession.
Friday’s session gave the market its first back-to-back advances in more than a month. Investors who have become used to bad economic news dealt calmly with data showing a drop in consumer spending. Another reason for the advance: Funds that dumped stocks furiously as the end of their fiscal year approached were finished with their selling.
While the market capped a terrible month with a strong week, it’s going to want to put the presidential election next week behind it and focus on the October employment report due next Friday before committing to a direction. The jobs report should provide some insight into how long and how severe the economic downturn could be.
The market is “settling into a little bit of a holding pattern” ahead of the election and jobs report, said Craig Peckham, market strategist at Jefferies & Co. “The fear level has clearly subsided, but there’s still a pervasive tone of unease.”
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow rose 144.32, or 1.57 percent, to 9,325.01 after rising as much as 274 and falling 62.
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Broader stock indicators also advanced. The S&P 500 index rose 14.66, or 1.54 percent, to 958.75, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 22.43, or 1.32 percent, to 1,720.95.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 23.34, or 4.54 percent, to 537.52.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by about 5 to 2 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to a moderate 1.57 billion shares. Lighter volume can raise questions about the conviction behind the market’s moves.
New York Stock Exchange: http://www.nyse.com
Nasdaq Stock Market: http://www.nasdaq.com