U.S. stocks climbed Thursday after three days of volatile trading by investors concerned about a double-dip recession and the debt crisis in Europe.
The Dow Jones industrial average, which dropped 5.6 percent Monday, rose 4 percent on Tuesday and lost 4.6 percent Wednesday. After two months of disappointing economic data, investor concerns reached a crescendo last Friday, when credit rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded U.S. credit for the first time ever from its lofty AAA rating to AA+.
The seesawing continued Thursday. The DJIA added 423.37 points or 3.95 percent to 11,143.31.
The broader S&P 500 index gained 51.88 points, 4.63 percent, to 1,172.64. The Nasdaq composite index added 111.63 or 4.69 percent to 2,492.68.
Stocks found a boost with a Labor Department report that first-time unemployment benefit claims fell by 7,000 last week. The Commerce Department, however, said the trade gap rose in June to $53.1 billion from May's $50.8 billion gap.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,836 stocks advanced and 235 declined on a volume of 6.6 billion shares traded.
The benchmark 10-year treasury note fell 1 9/32 to yield 2.336 percent.
The euro rose to $1.4221 from Wednesday's $1.4177. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 76.85 yen from Wednesday's 76.87 yen.
In Asia, most exchanges couldn't fully recover from their Thursday opening hit and waved red at close, as investors heard nothing encouraging during the day.
Thursday's performance, brought on largely by the mayhem the previous day on the New York markets and fears France could be next on the rating downgrade block, also put full stop to the Asian market's one-day rally Wednesday.
Tokyo's Nikkei-225 index, the early forecaster of the Asian market mood, showed only enough strength to offset some of the 2.2 percent opening plunge to close 57 points down, or 0.6 percent, to 8,982 points.
The yen's growing strength remained a concern as that would further hit Japan's exports. Kyodo News reported the government was set to revise downward its forecast for the world's third largest economy's growth this fiscal year to around 0.5 percent.
The Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index mimicked the Nikkei, cutting its morning's 2 percent deficit to close 1 percent down to 19,595 points.
But China's Shanghai Composite Index advanced 1.3 percent to end the day at 2,581 points. China's trade surplus in July soared to $31.5 billion, easing fears that the current climate could hurt the country's exports.
Taiwan's Taiex slipped 0.2 percent to 7,719.09, while Australia's Ordinaries remained largely unchanged at 4,140.8.
South Korea's Kospi was another exception, closing up 0.6 percent to 1,817 points after being down a hefty 4 percent. The country's central bank left the key seven-day repo rate unchanged at 3.25 percent, giving more consideration to the global conditions than rising inflation at home.
Both of India's bourses closed lower, with the 30-stock Sensex shedding 71 points, or 0.42 percent, to 17,059 points and the broader Nifty yielding 23 points, or 0.44 percent, to 5,138 points.
In London, the FTSE 100 index rebounded, adding 155.67 points, 3.11 percent, to 5,162.83. The French CAC added 111.50 points to close at 3,112 and the German Dax added 250.50 points to close at 5,860.
Copyright 2011 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.