After skidding to new lows for the year yesterday, the stock market managed to turn itself around today, but only tech stocks could make up a significant part of their recent losses.
Led by computer chip maker Intel and Internet hardware producer Cisco Systems, the Nasdaq Stock Market composite index climbed 35 points to 1,931.35. The 1.9 percent rebound recaptured more than half of the 61 points lost in a three-day skid by the Nasdaq composite.
Speculators gambled that Cisco would deliver strong earnings when it issued its quarterly report after the closing bell and Cisco came thru. Profits rose 23 percent to $1.2 billion and sales climbed 22 percent to $5.6 billion.
Intel was the biggest gainer among the stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average but by itself wasn't able to do much for the Dow. Intel was the only one of the Dow stocks to advance more than $1 as the blue chip index climbed 29 points to 10,019.47. Clawing its way back above the 10,000 point was considered a victory for the Dow, but today's gain made up for less than one-tenth of what the Dow lost during the previous four days.
The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index rebounded 8 points to 1,095.49.
Coming on a day when there was no significant economic news and little happening in corporate America, today's rebound looked to be largely a trading phenomena. Speculators saw buying opportunities in battered-down tech stocks, which responded enthusiastically when the orders came in.
While the stock trading action was anticlimactic, crude oil futures finally closed above the $40 a barrel barrier -- for the first time in 13 years. Crude has traded at more than $40 previously but until today had always slipped back below that point by the end of trading.
Today crude hit the target and stuck after traders discounted comments by officials in Saudi Arabia who called for pumping more oil to hold down prices. That rhetoric won't reverse the trend any time soon, oil traders decided.
Soaring oil prices prompted several foreign airlines to announce they will be adding fuel surcharges to their ticket prices. And costly crude could make paint more expensive, the Sherwin Williams Co. warned. Even though the most popular latex paints are sometimes called "water based," they still require chemicals made from petroleum.