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Fickle Market Ends Mixed

"Even without a change in the interest rate target, the Fed has tools at its disposal that can help the market make necessary adjustments in times like these," he said, in prepared remarks.

Lacker currently isn't a member of the Federal Open Market Committee, the policymaking body that votes on the fed funds rate, but because he is a Fed official, his words still carry considerable weight.

Earlier, in a televised interview, Paulson tried to sound a calming tone, saying that while there are liquidity concerns and stresses in the capital markets, the domestic and global economies remain strong.

"These things take a while to play out," he said, and eventually "liquidity will return to normal."

Meanwhile, signs of the credit crisis flared up again. Following the prior close, Capital One Financial (COF - Get Report) said it will shut down its wholesale mortgage business, eliminating 1,900 jobs in the process.

Shares of Capital One rose 2.6% in the wake of the announcement as investors hoped the move would mitigate the chance the company will be hurt by the troubles in the mortgage world.

Elsewhere, Accredited Home Lenders (LEND) signed an agreement to swap about $1 billion of loans under a 90-day purchase agreement. The transaction will reduce the company's exposure to margin calls on the loans, Accredited said. Its shares rose 1.7%.

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