Stocks Climb After Bear Market Fears

By Lyneka Little

Oct 4, 2011 10:56am

 After a skittish day, U.S. stocks began to climb minutes before the closing bell on Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose to 10,808.70, up 153 points, or 1.4%  after reaching 10,468 on Tuesday morning. The S&P 500, after flirting with closing the day in a bear market, recovered by rising to 1123.95, up 24.72 points.

On Tuesday morning, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told a Congressional committee that revisions based on economic data show an even longer recovery from the even deeper than previously judged recession. Throughout the afternoon, the stock market was turbulent as investors remained concerned about Europe’s debt crisis.

 ”Europe is the center point of all of this,” said Paul Zemsky, head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management, told the Associated Press. “The big fear in the market is that company earnings are not sustainable and that Europe’s problems are going to spread into the U.S. banking system.”

At 10:38 a.m., the Dow Jones industrial average fell to 10,468, down 168 points, or 1.58 percent.  The broader S&P 500 was down 12 points to 1086– that’s a 20 percent decline from its April high.

“It is clear that, overall, the recovery from the crisis has been much less robust than we hoped,” said Bernanke during the hearing.

“Households have been very cautious in their spending decisions, as declines in the house prices and in the values of financial assets have reduced household wealth, and many families continue to struggle with high debt burdens or reduced access to credit,” said Bernanke.

“Probably the most significant factor depressing consumer confidence, however, has been the poor performance of the job market, ” he continued. In the summer of 2011, private payrolls only added an average of 100,000 jobs per month, according to his report.

Economists expect Friday’s employment report for September to remain unchanged at 9.1 percent, according to the Associated Press.

The uptick comes after Monday’s day of gloom for the Dow, which tumbled 258 points, or 2.4 percent, to 10,665. The S&P 500 fell 32 points or 2.8 percent to 1099.

Bernanke shared some good news during his testimony, including a 15 percent rise in U.S. manufacturing production, saying “the functioning of the financial markets and the banking system in the United States has improved signficantly.”

 

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