NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are climbing again Wednesday, with big gains for industrial companies, retailers and makers of household products. Over the last two days stocks have recovered some of their recent losses but remain beneath the record highs they set last month. European markets rose.
After a slightly lower open, most stocks turned a higher within the first few minutes of trading, and winners outnumbered losers by more than two to one on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 17 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,713 as of 11:32 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average added 231 points, or 0.9 percent, to 25,150. The Nasdaq composite climbed 24 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,140.
After two steep plunges, including its worst loss in six and a half years followed by gains Tuesday and Wednesday, the S&P 500 is down 5.3 percent from its most recent record high set on January 26.
Global markets mostly rose and appeared calmer Wednesday. Germany's DAX was up 1.9 percent while the British FTSE 100 index rose 2.2 percent. The CAC 40 in France picked up 1.9 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.9 percent while Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average closed up 0.2 percent. The Kospi in South Korea fell 2.3 percent.
While markets have steadied somewhat, investors are still far more nervous than they were just a few days ago. The VIX index, which is called Wall Street's "fear gauge" because it measures how much volatility investors expect in the future, is currently at 21, about double where it was two weeks ago. It spiked above 50 early Tuesday.
Individual news from companies took center stage again. Newspaper publisher Tronc soared $5.13, or 28.4 percent, to $23.23 after it agreed to sell the Los Angeles Times.
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a major Tronc shareholder and former board member, plans to pay Tronc $500 million for the Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Los Angeles Times has endured a great deal of turmoil recently. It has changed its top editor three times in the last six months and its publisher was put on unpaid leave after it was reported he was a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits before he joined the paper.
Wynn Resorts jumped $15.78, or 9.7 percent, to $179 after Steve Wynn resigned as chairman and CEO following accusations of sexual misconduct. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Wynn paid $7.5 million to settle one such case. He has denied the accusations but said he could not be effective in his corporate positions in the face of those allegations. Wynn stock has fallen more than 10 percent since the Journal's report.
Snap, the parent of Snapchat, the disappearing-message application, rose $5.44, or 38.7 percent, to $19.50 after it reported strong user growth and greater-than-expected revenue in the fourth quarter. The stock went public in March and traded above $29 a share shortly after its initial public offering.
Chipotle Mexican Grill sank $31, or 10.2 percent, to $273.33 as investors were concerned that visits from customers continues to decline after a series of food safety scares over the last few years.
Among industrial companies, Boeing rose $11.79, or 3.5 percent, to $352.70. Amazon led the retail sector as it gained $12.70 to $1,455.54. It's now up almost 25 percent this year.
Other technology companies struggled. Apple fell $1.25 to $161.78 and Facebook lost $2.24, or 1.2 percent, to $183.07. Microsoft gave up 92 cents, or 1 percent, to $90.41.
The current bull market is set to turn nine years old in about a month. As of Jan. 26, the date of the last market record, the S&P 500 had more than quadrupled over that time. The market had made big gains over the last year, and many experts felt stocks were overdue for a slump.
Stocks began to fall Friday after U.S. jobs data showed wages growing more than anticipated. If that continues, it could stoke inflation and prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more and more quickly than previously expected.
There were few signs investors were avoiding stocks entirely. Bond prices did tick higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.79 percent after it surged to 2.81 percent on Tuesday. However, the price of gold has hardly budged the last few days. Gold slipped 0.3 percent Wednesday and silver lost 1 percent.
The global economy continues to grow strongly and corporate earnings are largely good. Under normal circumstances, that backdrop would see interest rates rise quickly, but in many parts of the world they are still at levels not uncommon to a recession or even a depression. That's true even in the U.S., where the Fed is gradually raising its rates from historically low levels.
Benchmark U.S. crude dropped $1.17, or 1.8 percent, to $62.22 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, the international standard, lost 66 cents, or 1 percent, to $66.20 a barrel in London.
The dollar edged up to 109.38 yen from 109.33 yen. The euro fell to $1.2297 from $1.2392.