Markets erase losses from early slide
It took the whole day, but stocks came all the way back.
Bruised once again by uncertainty about European debt, the U.S. stock market fell sharply Thursday at the open, then steadily gained ground for six hours. By the close, the Dow Jones industrial average had shaved its loss to less than three points.
It was the first decline of the year for the Dow. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained just under four points and managed to extend its January winning streak to three days.
The Dow recovered from a 134-point loss to end down just 2.72 points at 12,415.70. The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed up 3.76 points at 1,281.06. The Nasdaq rose 21.5 points to 2,669.86.
The market has had a strong start to the year. The Dow is up 1.6 percent, the S&P 500 1.9 percent. The technology-focused Nasdaq composite is already up 2.5 percent.
Stocks spent the morning underwater. Worries about Europe's financial crisis appeared to outweigh a jobs report that showed a drop in new applications for unemployment insurance.
"The positives that are coming out of our economy are less significant than the fear that is coming out of Europe," said Ralph Fogel, an investment strategist and partner at Fogel Neale Partners in New York. -- AP