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Tuesday, 04 October 2011 | 21:00

DJ30 PointChange: +153.41 Level: 10808.71 NASDAQ PointChange: +68.99 Level: 2404.82 NQ100 PercentChange: +2.1 R2K PercentChange: +6.4 SP400 PercentChange: +4.1 SP500 PointChange: +24.72 Level: 1123.95 NASDAQ-Adv:1903 Dec: 691 NYSE-Adv:1866 Dec: 1233

[BRIEFING.COM] Trade on Tuesday was quite volatile. The S&P 500 quickly tumbled in excess of 2%, but retraced the downturn into midday. The struggle to extend the move into anything more than an incremental gain invited renewed selling in the afternoon, but a late rally helped the market close with a gain of more than 2%.

Ongoing concerns about financial conditions in Europe and Greece's ability to pay its debts, let alone meet deficit reduction targets, prompted overseas markets to suffer steep losses in schizophrenic-like trade. The negative sentiment permeated premarket trade and prompted domestic participants to push stocks sharply lower in the first few minutes.

Few stocks were sparred from the sell-off as the S&P 500 dropped to the 1075 line for the first time in about 13 months. At that point, the stock market was more than 20% below its early May high, bringing about the undesirable distinction of bear market territory.

Tech stocks provided support in the face of the broad market's dive. The sector rallied to a gain of more than 1% with help from semiconductor-related plays. Tech's strength took the Nasdaq up to a nice midsession gain and helped the S&P 500 reverse its loss, but the broad market measure was unable to move up from the neutral line while the Dow remained mired in the red.

Tech's strength was challenged in the afternoon, though. Loss of leadership from the sector, which is the largest by market weight, invited sellers to redouble their efforts and drive stocks back into negative territory.

Reports that officials in the European Union are considering plans to recapitalize banks coincided with a barrage of buying in the final hour. The move by the S&P 500 from its afternoon low to its close spanned 4%. At the same time, the Dow bounded by more than 350 points with barely a pause along the way. The Nasdaq settled with a 3% gain, the strongest of the trio.

Although the Nasdaq outpaced its counterparts, primary component Apple (AAPL 372.50, -2.01) was unable to find positive territory. The stock's loss came amid a rather negative response to the unveiling of the company's latest iPhone.

Comments from Fed Chairman Bernanke to the Joint Economic Committee were consistent with recent policy statements in that the Fed remains prepared to provide additional support as necessary. The absence of surprises essentially made the speech a non-event for the market.

The market's reversal into the close caused the dollar to take a late dive. It ended the day about 0.7% behind a basket of major foreign currencies after it had worked its way out of the red during afternoon trade. The downturn was largely owed to newfound support for the euro, which settled with a 1.4% gain at $1.337.

Treasuries also sold off. Their downturn wasn't terribly steep, but it was still enough to take the yield on the benchmark 10-year Note back above 1.80%.

A dour mood during pit trade kept pressure on oil prices, which closed the day with a 2.5% loss at $75.67 per barrel. That marked their lowest close in more than a year, but futures prices climbed in conjunction with the equity market after pit trade had closed. As for gold, the precious metal slumped during pit trade to $1616 per ounce for a 2.2% loss, unable to attract even safety seekers.

Advancing Sectors: Financials +4.1%, Materials +3.7%, Energy +3.2%, Consumer Discretionary +3.1%, Industrials +2.6%, Tech +2.1%, Health Care +1.0%, Consumer Staples +0.7%, Telecom +0.6%
Declining Sectors: Utilities -0.5%

Source: Briefing

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