Updated from 4:22 p.m. EST
Stocks staged a mammoth rally late Wednesday afternoon, with the
Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining more than 230 points from its session low, most of which came after the
Federal Open Market Committee said evidence of an economic recovery is building and a ratings agency offered hopeful comments on
The Dow finished higher by 144.62 points, or 1.5%, to 9762.86. The industrials had a session low of 9529. The
Nasdaq was up 20.45 points, or 1.1%, to 1913.44, and the
S&P 500 added 12.93 points, or 1.2%, to 1113.57.
The major averages had little immediate reaction to the
FOMC's decision to leave the
fed funds target rate unchanged at 1.75%, which had been expected. The committee said in its statement accompanying the decision that while risks remain weighted toward economic weakness, a turnaround could be in the works.
Around midday, Wall Street appeared to be following up
Tuesday's selloff with another rough day as worries about corporate accounting procedures continued to keep investors from focusing on strong economic data.
One of the companies in the spotlight, Tyco, has been tumbling lately as investors fret over the conglomerate's complex structure and bookkeeping. Tyco, which is now planning to break into four separate companies, was sliding again until Standard & Poor's said the company had satisfactorily answered the rating agency's questions about its accounting. Tyco ended the session up $1.10, or 3.3%, to $34.75.
Before the bell, investors got a look at some of the evidence that the economy could be on the mend.
Gross domestic product came in much
stronger than expected in the fourth quarter, rising 0.2%, according to the Commerce Department. Economists, on average, were expecting a 1.1% decline.
Corporate earnings have slowed somewhat compared with the last two weeks, but plenty of widely held companies are still reporting their quarterly numbers.
AOL Time Warner
dropped 30 cents, or 1.1%, to $26.40 after the company met
fourth-quarter earnings expectations of 33 cents a share, up from 28 cents a share in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 4% to $10.63 billion, short of the consensus estimate of $10.71 billion.
fourth-quarter earnings of 5 cents a share, beating analysts' expectations by a penny, but well off its year-ago profit of 24 cents. Revenue for the quarter came in at $12.59 billion, ahead of the $12.33 billion consensus. Shares of AT&T ended down 36 cents, or 2%, to $17.45 after the company told investors to expect continuing revenue erosion.
After the bell Tuesday,
solid profit report and raised its outlook for coming quarters. Still, shares of the software maker traded down $3.04, or 6.6%, to $43.11.
said fourth-quarter earnings increased 41% to $28.7 million, or 16 cents a share, in line with analysts' forecasts. Revenue for the quarter rose to $81.7 million from $45.8 million on strong sales of its Rituxan drug, a treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Despite a seemingly strong quarter, the stock fell $1.66, or 2.8%, to $57.85.
slipped 51 cents, or 1.1%, to $46.89 after the company
restated third-quarter earnings to include $1 billion in additional writedowns related to an acquisition. The writedowns followed discovery of an accounting error.
was also being dragged lower on reports of questionable accounting practices. According to a story in
The Wall Street Journal
, the company's financials include unusually structured deals that contribute to results, but are often difficult for investors to evaluate.
has previously discussed similar issues. Shares of the Irish pharmaceutical company fell $5.95, or 16.9%, to $29.25.
Overseas markets were uniformly lower, with London's FTSE 100 losing 0.8% to 5089 and Germany's Xetra Dax down 0.6% to 5052. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei fell 1.1% to 9919, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 2.3% to 10,757.
U.S. Treasuries were losing ground. Around 4 p.m. EST, the 10-year note was down 18/32 to 99 29/32, yielding 5.01%.