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NEW YORK (AP) — Lurching higher in its week of whiplash, Wall Street recorded one of its biggest gains of all time Thursday after investors seized on a few signs that the economy might just be able to avoid a new recession.
The Dow Jones industrial average soared 423 points. It had already fallen 634 points Monday, risen 429 Tuesday and fallen 519 Wednesday. Never before has the Dow had four 400-point swings in a row.
The pieces of news that sent Wall Street rocketing higher were not exactly blockbusters: Cisco Systems said its profit was better than expected, the job market got a little better, and France tried to raise confidence in its shaken banking system.
But this is a week in which any move by the market — higher or lower — seems to touch off an investor stampede. So it was on Thursday, when stocks shot higher at the opening bell and never turned around.
Carlton Neel, who manages about $2 billion as a senior portfolio manager at Virtus Investment Partners, said investors are so scared of being late to a rally or a sell-off that they are trading in herds.
"Fear tends to be a much more powerful emotion, and the sell-offs tend to be more violent than the rallies," he said. "But people are worried about missing the bottom, so you will have a few melt-ups along the way."
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