Wall Street Rockets Higher As Wildest Week Since ’08 Continues
If the stock market were a person it would be a fearful, neurotic basket case that spent many nights alone eating yogurt in candlelight. It's amazing the week it's had when really not much has changed, other than panic levels.
Lurching higher in its week of whiplash, Wall Street recorded one of its biggest gains of all time Thursday after investors seized on a few signs that the economy might just be able to avoid a new recession.
The Dow Jones industrial average soared 423 points. It had already fallen 634 points Monday, risen 429 Tuesday and fallen 519 Wednesday. Never before has the Dow had four 400-point swings in a row.
The pieces of news that sent Wall Street rocketing higher were not exactly blockbusters: Cisco Systems said its profit was better than expected, the job market got a little better, and France tried to raise confidence in its shaken banking system.
But this is a week in which any move by the market — higher or lower — seems to touch off an investor stampede. So it was on Thursday, when stocks shot higher at the opening bell and never turned around.
Carlton Neel, who manages about $2 billion as a senior portfolio manager at Virtus Investment Partners, said investors are so scared of being late to a rally or a sell-off that they are trading in herds.
"Fear tends to be a much more powerful emotion, and the sell-offs tend to be more violent than the rallies," he said. "But people are worried about missing the bottom, so you will have a few melt-ups along the way."
The four days of trading this week have been the wildest for the market since the financial crisis during the fall of 2008. Each day has instantly taken a place in Wall Street history. The Dow's losses on Monday and Wednesday were its sixth- and ninth-largest by points, and its gains on Tuesday and Thursday were the 10th- and 11th-largest.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index has risen or fallen at least 4 percent each day. That has not happened on four consecutive days since November 2008, the depths of the crisis.
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