In second full week since attacks, US markets show stability

Wall Street relaxed somewhat last week as the US stock market showed hints of rebuilding from the steep losses it incurred after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "We're in a stabilization process right now," says Bryan Piskorowski, a market commentator for investment house Prudential Securities Inc.

We were "on the mend" during the week, he says, with some signs of progress. Considering that the market "entered last week oversold and underloved," that's no small achievement, Mr. Piskorowski adds. (For market closes for the week ending Sept. 28, see the chart at right.)

Most analysts stop short of sounding the "all clear," however. Negative or lower earnings reports continue to be a heavy weight on the market, says Hank Herrmann, chief investment officer for mutual-fund firm Waddell & Reed, in Overland Park, Kan.

But a number of factors are providing a more solid footing for equities, he says, including a degree of action by Washington in the fight against terrorism. The tough new airport-security plan announced by the White House, he says, should shore up consumer confidence (sharply down in September, see chart at left). Also likely to help ease uncertainty, says Mr. Herrmann: reports of some military movement and the likelihood of billions in federal support for hard-hit industries, as well as other stimulus packages.

The stabilization process is not yet complete, Herrmann cautions. But, he says, it is clearly under way.

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