One of the most tumultuous weeks in the 216-year history of Wall Street closed with a dramatic two-day rally as investors around the world celebrated an unprecedented U.S. government plan to cleanse banks of the bad mortgages that touched off a crisis in world finance
NEW YORK — One of the most tumultuous weeks in the 216-year history of Wall Street closed with a dramatic two-day rally as investors around the world celebrated an unprecedented U.S. government plan to cleanse banks of the bad mortgages that touched off a crisis in world finance.
The Dow closed up 368.75, or 3.4 percent, to 11,388.44 after having been up as much as 460 points. The Dow has logged moves of more than 400 points every day except Tuesday.
Broader stock indicators also surged Friday. The S&P 500 index was up 48.57, or 4 percent, to 1,255.08, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 74.80, or 3.4 percent, to 2,273.90.
In Europe, markets in London and Paris rose 9 percent, breaking one-day records, and Asian stocks were up as well.
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You would never have known it from the anxiety that gripped the nation, but stocks ended the week virtually unchanged, with the Dow down 33.55 points for the week, or 0.3 percent.
It was an extraordinary week, beginning with Lehman Brothers declaring bankruptcy. Financial stocks were pummeled but the sector turned around after the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a ban on some short selling.
The broader stock market clawed back earlier losses as it capped the week with a two-day rally, the largest since 2000. Gold prices, which had soared earlier in the week as investors sought a safe place to park their money, tumbled Friday, as did bonds. Money-market funds, whose fragility earlier in the week was one catalyst for government intervention, appeared to stabilize.
The tumult began with a meeting last Friday night of Wall Street CEOs at the New York Federal Reserve. When they were unable to come up with a plan to rescue Lehman, traders were called in for an emergency session Sunday.
Some were back at work at 3 a.m. Monday to follow the action in London. With news of Lehman’s filing and Merrill’s hasty deal to be bought by Bank of America, stocks plunged. Investors saw their biggest one-day losses since the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Worse would come as panic infected money-market funds. Credit markets froze after the Reserve Primary Fund, the nation’s oldest money-market fund, said it was no longer able to assure clients it had the assets to back every dollar they had invested. It was the first time since 1994 that a money-market fund had seen its assets fall below its investments.
The announcement sparked panic. Investors rushed to withdraw their money from money-market funds, and lending tightened worldwide.
The interest for some overnight loans tripled, as banks hoarded cash. Lehman Brothers, which filed for bankruptcy protection Monday, had sold off its North American operations to British purchaser Barclays by Tuesday.