Stocks end higher Wednesday

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NEW YORK -- Wall Street shot higher in a last-minute advance Wednesday after careening through a session made turbulent by ongoing concerns about U.S. home loans and the credit market.

Stocks zigzagged throughout much of the session, rallying 150 points in the final 20 minutes of trading. Earlier gains in the session fizzled, suggesting that any advance could perhaps be punctured by further bad news about soured subprime home loans, those made to borrowers with poor credit.

The back-and-forth session further revealed the fractious nature of the stock market after a series of triple-digit swings in the Dow Jones industrials over the past week. On Tuesday, Wall Street gave back a big early gain and resumed the sharp slide it began last week, as concerns about home loan defaults and their fallout re-emerged when American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. reported troubles with its credit lines.

Economic news -- including a better-than-expected report on pending home sales -- as well as record oil prices failed to peel investors' concentration much beyond credit.

"We've got a tug-of-war going on," said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. "We've got that dichotomy between fear and greed. This is greed kicking in," he said of the final 20 minutes of trading.

He contends Wednesday's trading represents a microcosm of the market's performance in recent weeks, when investors alternately focus on concerns like subprime loans and rising energy prices and positives like low unemployment, low interest rates and still-growing corporate profits.

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow rose 150.38, or 1.14%, to 13,362.37.

Broader stock indicators rose. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 10.61, or 0.73%, to 1,465.88, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 7.60, or 0.30%, to 2,553.87.
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