NEW YORK - Stock prices swung widely but ended higher today after a Federal Reserve assessment of the economy eased fears about higher interest rates and inflation.
Dow gains 69
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 69.30 to close at 10,955.41. The Dow changed direction several times during the course of the day, dropping as much as 110 points before regaining ground in the afternoon.
Broader stock indicators were also higher after erasing early losses.
The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 15.31 to 1,347.31, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 49.29 to 2,534.41.
Advancers beat decliners by 1,552 to 1,419 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 563 unchanged. NYSE volume totaled 895.39 million shares vs. 933.23 million yesterday.
The NYSE composite index rose 4.44 to 640.54, but the American Stock Exchange composite index fell 0.21 to 785.49. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 1.68 to 434.27.
Stock investors fretted through most of the session about the general upward trend in interest rates. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond, while it eased today to just under 5.7 percent, is up from 5.5 percent just two weeks ago. Since Friday bonds fell about 21/2 points and yields rose to the highest level since July as signs of strength in the economy spurred concern that inflation - which eats away at bonds' value - will quicken.
"People are genuinely afraid that there's going to be a pickup in inflation," said Gary Zeltzer, who oversees $1.9 billion of bonds at J & W Seligman & Co.