USA stocks were attempting a modest rebound on Wednesday, boosted by technology shares and an Amazon-led jump in retailers, following four sessions of steep losses that pushed the S&P 500 and Dow Industrials near bear market territory.
The S&P 500 sank more than 2 per cent, before paring losses, unable to add to a 5 per cent surge that was the biggest since March 2009. The Dow slid 359 points, or 1.5 percent, to 22,520.
GE (GE) had its fifth-best day of the year Wednesday but fell close to 5% Thursday.
Markets were roiled ahead f the Chrismas break due to a number of political headlines taking the limelight.
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Sentiment also improved after a Bloomberg News report said a US government delegation would travel to Beijing in early January to hold trade talks, the first face-to-face discussion since US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on a 90-day trade war truce.
White House economic advisor Kevin Hassett also sought to reassure on Powell's prospects, telling ABC News the Fed chief is "100%" safe.
While Japanese and Australian shares rose strongly, markets in mainland China as well as Hong Kong closed 0.4 per cent weaker after data showed earnings at China's industrial firms dropped in November for the first time in almost three years.
Homebuilders mostly rebounded after an early slide following a report indicating that annual US home price growth slowed in October.
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Apart from that this was also amid the concerns for the slowing of the economic growth.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.79 per cent from 2.75 per cent late Monday. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has suffered its worst December on record. The exchange is closed on Tuesday for Christmas day.
THANKS, SANTA: Big retailers were among the gainers. Energy producers surged as crude oil powered past US$46 a barrel, an increase of nearly 10 per cent.
The offshore yuan was little changed after China released new rules promising to treat all companies equally, the latest positive step on the trade and investment front since further USA and Chinese tariff hikes were paused. The soaring share prices of technology companies - especially the so-called Faang companies, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google - helped push stock markets to new highs.
Investors have been unnerved by the potential for weaker economic growth and a partial U.S. federal government shutdown.
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The dollar strengthened to 111.36 yen from 110.41 yen on Monday. Marathon Petroleum rose 1.9 percent to $55.36. The euro rose to $1.1397 from $1.1353.