Stocks Rally Late to Close Higher

Blue-chips and tech stocks rebound after trading down for most of the day.
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Updated from 2:48 p.m. EDT

Stocks closed higher Thursday, after trading lower for much of the session, overcoming weak economic data, pessimistic profit reports and more anthrax news.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 117.28 points, or 1.3%, to 9462.90. The

Nasdaq rose 43.90 points, or 2.5%, to 1775.44, and the

S&P 500 was up 14.89 points, or 1.4%, to 1100.09. Stocks had been considerably lower for much of the session before a late rally lifted the major averages.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department said durable goods orders fell 8.5% in September, reflecting weakness in orders for cars and aircraft following the terrorist attacks. Economists had been expecting a decline of around 2%. The most recent statistics from the National Association of Realtors revealed that existing home sales dropped to 4.89 million in September from 5.54 million in the previous month.

More anthrax worries surfaced on Capitol Hill as a reporter was being tested for exposure after visiting a Senate office building last week. Results of the tests won't be known until Friday. Separately, a worker in a remote site at a State Department mail room tested positive for exposure to anthrax.

Dow Chemical

(DOW) - Get Report

kicked off Thursday's earnings parade with news of an 84% profit decline. The Midland, Mich., company said income was $57 million, or 6 cents a share, compared with $357 million, or 40 cents a share, a year ago.

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

surprised the market by posting a loss in its second quarter. The electronics giant said the loss totaled about $107 million, reflecting the global economic slowdown. The company's shares fell 1.6% to $40.17.

WorldCom

(WCOM)

reported earnings for the third quarter that were in line with Wall Street's estimates. The telecommunications provider earned $460 million, or 16 cents a share, down from $780 million or 27 cents a share in the year-ago period. Shares of WorldCom lost 2.7% at $12.11.

Foundry Networks

(FDRY)

tumbled 11% to $9.80 a day after the company missed analysts' third-quarter earnings expectations. The company reported income of 2 cents a share Wednesday, short of forecasts of 5 cents a share. The company reported revenue of $74.7 million in the quarter, down from $113.2 million a year ago.

A series of downgrades from several Wall Street analysts sent tech stocks into a tailspin. Among the technology firms downgraded were

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

,

Juniper Networks

(JNPR) - Get Report

and

Brocade Communications

(BRCD)

. Brocade traded down 3.1% to $26.25. Oracle fell 5.9% to $13.80, and Juniper dropped 3% to $26.20.

European markets were lower across the board, with Germany's Xetra DAX losing 2% to 4716, and London's FTSE 100 down 1.6% at 5087. The markets were digesting news that the European Central Bank decided against lowering rates at a meeting Thursday. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei index closed up 0.7% at 10,880, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.2% to 10,243.

The 10-year Treasury note was recently up 13/32 to 103 19/32, yielding 4.54%.