Wall Street did another of its mid-afternoon U-turns today, and for once it went up.
Recovering from a 90-point plunge, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up almost 32 points at 10,117.07. The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index ended the session up a little more than half a point at 1,095.42. But the Nasdaq Stock Market composite index fell 11 points to 1,858.26.
The market's slide began as crude oil prices headed for a new all-time high, driven by fears that world-wide supplies would be cut because of the highly politicized tax dispute between the Russian government and Yukos Oil Co., that nation's biggest exporter.
The government is trying to collect billions in back taxes from Yukos and news reports today suggested that the government had ordered the company to stop production. But company officials called the situation a misunderstanding and said they had been ordered to not sell property, but they did not think that included oil. Nonetheless, crude oil prices in response to the reports jumped. As crude hit $42.90 on the New York futures market, the stock market sank.
Yukos may also have been a factor in the market's rebound. James Cramer of Thestreet.com said the market recovered in response to a rumor that the Yukos dispute had been settled.
Bloomberg news attributed the upswing to the announcement that Boeing Co. was boosting its earnings forecast for the rest of the year. Boeing stock, one of the 230 members of the Dow, rose 79 cents.
Another Dow component, ExxonMobil is expected to report record earnings Thursday.
That may be good for Exxon stockholders and the Dow, but bad for the economy. Today in its latest region-by-region update on the health of the economy, the Federal Reserve noted that higher gasoline prices are cutting into retail sales.