Wall Street stocks reversed early losses today in its struggle to buck widespread expectations of further declines after two straight days of 200 point-plus slides.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 102.22 points in early trade but turned around later to close the day with a 152.16-point or nearly 2 percent gain at 7,784.69. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 2.12 points early on but then closed the day with a 2.65-point or .16 percent gain at 1,610.21.
Weak U.S. economic news added to the pervading gloom arising from the Asian economic crisis and the slew of corporate earnings warnings. The unemployment rate rose to 4.6 percent from 4.5 percent, reaching its highest level in the past six months, the Labor Department reported today. Employers added only 69,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, down from 309,000 in August. Manufacturers cut payrolls by 16,000 jobs in September, marking the fifth payroll decline in six months.
Shares of financial software maker PeopleSoft plunged more than 25 percent to a new 52-week low today after Morgan Stanley Dean Witter cut the company's outlook to a "neutral" rating from a "strong buy." The stock has reached as high as 57.44 and as low as 26.88 during the past 52 weeks (See related story).
Overseas, Japan's Nikkei index managed to gain a meager 0.2 percent to close at 13,223.69 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng carved out a 0.59 percent gain to reach 7,883.46. Germany's DAX tumbled 6.37 percent or 269.12 points to 3,957.37.