Stocks rebound after Tuesday's big slide

The Dow jumped 89 points to close at 12805, a stark turnaround from yesterday's free-fall.

Brendan McDermid/Reuters/File
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange April 11, 2012. Stocks rebounded Wednesday after suffering huge losses the day before. The Do rose 89 points.

Investors on Wednesday all but forgot the previous day's burdens and sent stocks soaring. It was a stark turnaround from the day before, when they'd pushed the market into a free-fall on worries about European debt and corporate earnings in the U.S.

Those fears about problems festering on both sides of the Atlantic were calmed thanks to a surprising profit from Alcoa and news that borrowing costs in Spain had edged down, a potential sign that investors have more faith — for now, anyway — in that country's financial health.

The result was a U-turn on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed as much as 129 points in early trading before settling at 12,805.39, up 89.46 points. The previous day, it had lost 214 points, the cap to its biggest and longest losing streak this year.

European markets rose, too. Stocks climbed roughly 1 percent in major capitals, excluding Greece, after losing 2 to 3 percent the day before. Treasury prices fell, signaling that investors are more willing to put money in stocks.

Other U.S. indexes also erased much of the previous day's losses. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 10.12 points to 1,368.71 after losing 24 points the day before. The Nasdaq composite climbed 25.24 points to 3,016.46 following a 56-point loss Tuesday.

Alcoa rose more than 6 percent after reporting late Tuesday that it turned a profit in the first three months of the year and handily beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts, who were predicting a loss. Since Alcoa is the first company in the Dow average to report earnings, its results have a greater ability to move the market compared with companies that report later. More first-quarter results will be released over the next few weeks.

Market watchers were divided over how long the gains would last and whether Alcoa's profits actually mean anything for the rest of the earnings season.

"I'm not predicting we're going to have a blowout earnings quarter," said David Armstrong, managing director of Monument Wealth Management in Alexandria, Virginia. "But I think if people thought earnings season was going to be bad, they may be pleasantly surprised."

"One earnings report?" countered Uri Landesman, president of the New York hedge fund Platinum Partners. The boost "will last until the first bad number."

Among stocks making big moves:

Titan Machinery, which sells agricultural and construction equipment, jumped nearly 17 percent after reporting a big increase in quarterly profit.

—Cell phone maker Nokia plummeted nearly 16 percent after warning that heavy competition will hurt first-quarter results.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.