Stocks end higher on late-day bounce
NEW YORK » A late-day rebound gave stocks a moderate advance yesterday as sharply lower oil prices and an unexpected jump in consumer confidence soothed investors' unease over a batch of mixed earnings.
The market fluctuated through much of the session after disappointing results from UPS Inc. and 3M Co. stoked concerns about the health of corporate profits. McDonald's Corp. and AT&T Inc. both had strong earnings, but anxiety over interest rates and geopolitical tension kept investors from extending a solid advance in the prior session.
Wall Street found some support from the day's economic news. Consumer confidence rose in July despite soaring gasoline prices, and modest slowdown in existing home sales last month also brightened hopes of a soft landing for the economy.
But while stocks managed to bounce back in the last hour of trade -- the Dow Jones industrials reversed course and added as much as 83 points -- analysts said the lack of a significant catalyst meant the move higher was not substantial and fit in with Wall Street's recent erratic behavior.
"I think there was some degree of relief when the market was able to hold to the lows and not follow the pattern of the past couple of months: following up days by giving everything back," said Russ Koesterich, senior portfolio manager at Barclays Global Investments. "The catalysts you would look for were all present in the morning, but the market traded lower."
The Dow gained 52.66, or 0.48 percent, to 11,103.71. On Monday, a flurry of acquisitions and upbeat earnings boosted the blue chip index by 182 points.
Broader stock indicators also recovered. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 7.97, or 0.63 percent, to 1,268.88, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 12.06, or 0.58 percent, to 2,073.90.
Advancing issues led decliners by more than 2 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume of 2.73 billion shares topped the 2.48 billion shares that changed hands Monday.
Bonds pulled back, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rising to 5.07 percent from 5.04 percent late Monday. The U.S. dollar gained ground on the Japanese yen, while gold prices rose to about $620 an ounce.
Oil prices tumbled as energy traders awaited developments in the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. A barrel of light crude sank $1.30 to $73.75 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.