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U.S. markets fall but rebound

American indexes head south at the opening bell but manage to close the day with a dramatic 150-point turnaround.

U.S. markets headed straight south at the opening bell today, but managed to pull off a dramatic 150-point turnaround later in the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 55 points before recovering to close nearly 2 percent higher at 8,574.85, up 149.85. The technology-laden Nasdaq market also turned around after an early decline, closing up 27.85 at 1,818.04, while the S&P 500 closed up nearly 2 percent at 1083.67.

U.S. markets rose despite news that Russia had devalued the ruble by nearly 34 percent, giving investors one more reason to unload shares.

The Nikkei Stock Average plunged more than 2 percent, or 329.27 points, to close at 14,794.66. The benchmark Japanese index continued to spiral downward, hitting another seven-week low today.

Even with the global markets becoming increasingly jittery, shares of Apple Computer closed up nearly 4 percent at 41.94 on news that demand for its new iMac has surpassed expectations. The stock beat its previous 52-week high of 41.

Shares of many Internet stocks, however, continued their slide from last week and closed lower. Amazon.com, for example, declined 2.49 percent to 119.69. America Online closed down 1.4 percent at 104.75.

A few Net stocks bucked the trend. Excite closed up slightly at 42.13, or less than half a percent, while Yahoo rose to 92, just more than a quarter percent.

Most analysts brush off the slide in Internet stocks during the past week as a temporary setback, blaming nervousness among investors.

"On a day-to-day basis, [this decline] is nothing more than noise on the line," said Ulric Weil, an analyst at the investment banking firm of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey. "In longer terms, these are good stocks in a strong group. Not all Internet stocks are in that group, but the good ones have a bright future."

After the markets closed today, Hewlett-Packard, battered by PC pricing pressures and Asia's economic woes, surprised Wall Street by posting stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings.