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29 December 2018, 12:56 | Vera Richards
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up more than 1,000 points - its biggest single-day point gain ever - rising almost 5 percent as investors returned from a one-day Christmas break. The tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 82 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 6,471.
The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and 106 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded three new highs and 207 new lows.
Wednesday's gains pulled the S&P 500 back somewhat from the brink of a bear market, where it finished after a shortened trading session Monday.
USA 2018 holiday sales rose 5.1 per cent from a year ago to more than US$850-billion, the strongest gain in six years, according to a Mastercard report.
This comes as China and the United States plan face-to-face consultations to resolve their trade dispute, which has rocked stock markets, along with concerns over slowing economic growth and rising interest rates.
The heavy-weight FAANG group - Facebook Inc (FB.O), Amazon, Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), rose between 1 percent and 4 percent.
The latest on developments in financial markets (all times local): 4:00 p.m. US stocks are staging a furious late-afternoon rally Thursday, closing with gains after erasing a 600-point drop in the...
Technology companies, a big driver of the market's gains before things deteriorated in October, rebounded after being down most of the day.
Although Wall Street's main fear gauge, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), fell sharply Wednesday, it still remained above 30 for much of the day, indicating that market participants continued to be uneasy.
During Christmas, the e-commerce giant said that it reached record high sales, pushing the stock price of Amazon up 7.1 percent on the day.
The selloff erased more than $3 trillion in value from the S&P 500 index this month.
The Federal Reserve's decision to boost interest rates, concerns about slower global growth, and a partial USA government shutdown have caused unease among investors, leading to a sharp drop in US stock prices.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei followed the Wall Street rally with a gain of 3.9 percent. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average had its steepest drop on Christmas Eve in its 122-year history.
Yet some analysts have argued that the stock market's weakness in December has been disproportionate to economic conditions at a time when unemployment is low and growth is still solid. KeyCorp declined 2.5 percent to $14.35 as the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.76 percent from 2.79 percent late Wednesday.
Even with Wednesday's big gains, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are all down more than 10 percent for the month. London's FTSE was little changed, Germany's DAX fell 0.7 percent and France's CAC was up 0.6 percent.
"This call was absolutely unnecessary and in terms of their ability to communicate to the markets, they're losing it", Frank Troise, managing director at SoHo Capital, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday.
At the start of Wednesday's trading, all the major indexes were in or close to a bear market. The Nasdaq is already in bear market, along with the Dow Jones Transport Average.DJT and small-cap Russell 2000 index.
Liverpool - Premier League - 21 December 2018
The players will train on Christmas Day before travelling down to London ahead of their game against lowly Fulham on Boxing Day. We won here and that is a big step for us. "I think today there were a couple moments when they were risky , but we did well".
White House: US Starts Withdrawing Troops From Syria
Jennifer Cafarella, a Syria expert at the Institute for the Study of War, said the withdrawal is likely to create new problems. Even the military defeat of the southeastern Syrian pocket now under attack, McGurk said, would take several more months.
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Early Tuesday, the EIA said the U.S.is set to end 2018 as the world's top oil producer. It was only a one-week blip, however, as US imports exceeded exports last week.
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Where victims were found, yellow, orange and black body bags were laid out, and weeping relatives identified the dead. It said most victims were Indonesian tourists visiting beaches during the long weekend ahead of Christmas.