US stocks were attempting a modest rebound on Wednesday, boosted by technology shares and an Amazon-led jump in retailers, following four sessions of steep losses that pushed the S&P 500 and Dow Industrials near bear market territory.
American exchanges were closed on Tuesday for the Christmas holiday, but stocks are inheriting downside momentum from a Monday plunge when they recorded their worst Christmas Eve trading ever - and the S&P 500 entered a bear market. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 265 points, or 4.3 percent, to 6,458.
Even with Wednesday's rebound the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are still down 15.4 percent, 16.4 percent and 19.8 percent respectively from their all-time highs earlier this year - according to statistics from Fox News. Despite Wednesday's rally, stocks are on track for their worst December since 1931, during the depths of the Great Depression.
Investors are not relieved by the strong performance of the Dow Jones on the day because of the unusual volatility USA markets have demonstrated in the past several weeks and with the Dow Jones still at risk of plunging into a bear market, the tension of most investors is likely to extend across the first quarter of 2019. Kohl's gained 10.3 percent to $65.92.
This comes as China and the United States plan face-to-face consultations to resolve their trade dispute, which has rocked stock markets, along with concerns over slowing economic growth and rising interest rates.
All three major US indexes gained at least 4 percent on Wednesday. If history is any guide, the downturn will last about a year as bear markets have lasted 13 months on average since World World II.
Wall Street stocks roared back to life yesterday, shaking off four straight routs following strong retail sales data and White House reassurances that Fed Chair Jay Powell won't be fired.
Stocks are looking to stop one of the most miserable Decembers on record, as a host of headwinds combined to drag down America's benchmark index. The S&P 500 was down 20.06 percent from an intraday record high set on September 21 before Wednesday's sharp rebound. Health care and technology companies, banks and industrial stocks accounted for much of the gains.
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"We expect the effect on real GDP would amount to -0.07 percentage points per week of shutdown", the report said. The benchmark S&P 500 index also gained 5 percent and the technology heavy Nasdaq rose 5.8 percent.
The call did more to rattle markets than to assure them and all three major US stock indexes ended down more than 2 percent on the day.
"There's a lot of uncertainty, and that's one of the biggest things that the market doesn't like", Andrew Sullivan, a Hong Kong-based market economist, told CNN.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 600 points in afternoon trading Thursday.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury is up to 2.76 percent.
Dow Jones futures were lower by 1.5 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 1.5 percent. The German DAX slid 2.4 percent, while the Nikkei 225 index rebounded 3.9 percent.
At the start of Wednesday's trading, all the major indexes were in or close to a bear market.