Sun, Jan 18, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Wall Street closes higher amid turmoil


Wall Street has managed its second straight comeback, but the rebound was more a sign of the market’s turmoil than strength.

Stocks closed moderately higher on Friday after an erratic session that had investors tussling with concerns about the ongoing problems in the banking industry in response to more billion-dollar losses at Citigroup Inc and Bank of America Corp. Yet investors were also heartened by plans for both banks to restore themselves to profitability, and they were also willing to place bets on a range of consumer and industrial stocks.

“It’s that tug of war between problems and promise,” said Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist at RidgeWorth Investments. “I think there is a bit of a sigh of relief that there is assistance coming for Citi and Bank of America, but it seems like there is an ongoing need for this assistance.”

The companies’ fourth-quarter losses — Citi said it lost US$8.29 billion, while Bank of America lost US$2.39 billion — were reminders that the sagging economy was aggravating the problems that began with the mortgage crisis in 2007.

Amid the uncertainty about financials, investors were buying consumer stocks like Wal-Mart Stores Inc, McDonald’s Corp and Procter & Gamble Co. Some tech stocks were among the gainers, including Intel Inc and Microsoft Corp. After two weeks of selling, many stocks are looking much more attractive.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 68.73 points, or 0.84 percent, to 8,281.22. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 6.38, or 0.76 percent, to 850.12, while the NASDAQ composite index rose 17.49, or 1.16 percent, to 1,529.33.

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