NEW YORK – It took some work, but investors managed to turn Wall Street’s best performance this year into a two-day advance.
Stocks ended with modest gains Wednesday, but the Dow Jones industrial average still recorded its first two-day climb since Feb. 5-6. The buying was far more subdued than on Tuesday when Citigroup Inc.’s upbeat assessment of its business sent investors rushing into the market, in part to cover bets that stocks would continue to slide. The Dow on Wednesday ended nearly 4 points up after jumping 379 the day before.
The session’s mood was more tentative than some investors might have hoped for, but given the market’s dismal performance for much of 2009, just holding on to gains from the rally was a victory.
Financial stocks that led the market’s huge rally Tuesday continued to pull ahead Wednesday. Tech stocks rose after an analyst raised Hewlett-Packard Co.’s rating.
But analysts again cautioned that the market remains deeply troubled by the problems in the banking industry and the impact of the recession on companies in all industries. For there to be a sustained advance, there has to be “many, many days of positive tone, and the market interpreting data and news as more positive than negative,” said Roman Dubczak, head of equity capital markets at CIBC World Markets.
The Dow rose 3.91, or 0.1 percent, to 6,930.40. The S&P 500 index rose 1.76, or 0.2 percent, to 721.36, while the Nasdaq composite index, which has a heavy representation of tech stocks, rose 13.36, or 1 percent, to 1,371.64.