Stocks rebound fitfully Wed.; Dow up 60


NEW YORK -- Wall Street rebounded fitfully Wednesday from the previous session's 416-point plunge in the Dow industrials as investors took comfort from comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke but still showed signs of unease about the economy.

Bernanke's remarks to Congress that he still expects moderate economic growth gave some investors confidence to look for bargains. A recovery in some overseas markets following a worldwide selloff Tuesday also lent some support to U.S stocks, but the advance lacked some conviction -- the major indexes fluctuated through the morning and into the afternoon, with the Dow rising as much as 137 points before pulling back and then advancing again.

The Fed chairman allayed some of the fears about a slowdown in the U.S. and Chinese economies that fed Tuesday's drop; remarks earlier in the week from former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan warning that a U.S. recession could take hold later this year contributed to Tuesday's declines.

Investors parsed a series of economic reports out Wednesday, hoping to glean a sense of where stocks were headed. Bernanke's comments and a gross domestic product reading that mostly met expectations helped bring out some buyers. Nevertheless, investors remained cautious and didn't rush headlong into stocks and discount the possibility of a further shakeout.

"It's typical that you get a bounceback the next day," said Joseph V. Battipaglia, chief investment officer at Ryan Beck & Co. "Now we're essentially flat on the year. Can we go up from here or down? That sorting-out process will continue now."

A recovery in China's Shanghai Composite Index, which had fallen nearly 9% Tuesday, also helped boost U.S. stocks, although other Asian markets and European exchanges saw declines of more than 1%.

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrials rose 52.07, or 0.43%, to 12,268.31.

Broader stock indicators also managed gains. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 7.77, or 0.56%, to 1,406.81, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 8.27, or 0.34%, to 2,416.13.

Bonds fell as stocks tried to recoup some losses. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 4.56% from its low for the year of 4.47% late Tuesday.

The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices fell.