Stocks jumped Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she would continue the central bank's market-friendly, low-interest rate policies. It's a positive shift for the stock market, which had its worst January since 2010 as concerns about growth in China and the US sent investors shifting from stocks to bonds.
Stocks get a boost from an increase in pending home sales. With only two full trading sessions left in 2011, stocks are struggling to finish in positive territory.
Stocks slid in late afternoon trading. The Dow lost 66 points Tuesday to close at 11954, after gaining as much as 126 points earlier. Stocks on the Nasdaq and S&P 500 also suffered losses.
Stocks calmed down after Monday's big declines. Stocks on the Dow gained 69 points by noon Tuesday.
US stocks were down near session lows in midday trading. The European Central Bank's announcement that it had no large-scale bond-buying plan undercut enthusiasm for US stocks.