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US stocks finish rollercoaster session higher, Dow up 1.4%

By AFP
media The closing numbers are displayed at the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on February 8, 2018 AFP

Wall Street stocks finished a topsy-turvy session solidly higher Friday, surging in the final hour of trading and lessening the losses in a brutal week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 1.4 percent at 24,190.90 after swinging more than 1,000 points during the session.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.5 percent to 2,619.55, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.4 percent to 6,874.68.

Stocks lurched back and forth, opening decisively higher, then tumbling deep into the red at midday before rising again and finishing strong.

In spite of the robust finish, the Dow's weekly losses were the worst since January 2016 and investors are bracing for more turbulence ahead.

"We had plenty of volatility today and we'll see more next week," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

"You have to go back to the financial crisis days to see this kind of volatility."

The market's best hope for escaping the current cycle is if next week's US inflation data contain no bombshells and bond yields do not increase from their current range, Hogan said.

Global markets have been on edge all week following a huge plunge in US stocks Monday that was followed by rollercoaster moves on Tuesday and Wednesday and another big decline Thursday.

The initial catalyst for the selloff was Friday's strong US jobs report, which heightened expectations that the Federal Reserve would move more aggressively to lift interest rates.

Since then, US Treasury bond yields have risen as market pundits warn of rising inflation. Global bourses have also suffered losses, with Japan's Nikkei losing 2.3 percent Friday and European down more than one percent.

 
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