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Wall Street finishes erratic day higher

Wall Street finishes erratic day higher

Wall Street scored a moderate gain after a volatile session Wednesday that saw the major indexes ratchet up and down on the seesawing price of oil and mixed feelings about the financial sector.
Concerns about mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had initially dragged down financials. Wall Street is nervous that the government-chartered companies will need a bailout from the Treasury Department, a move that could wipe out shareholders' equity. Fannie Mae shares tumbled nearly 30 percent, while Freddie Mac shares lost about 28 percent.
But more broadly, financial stocks are looking cheap right now to many traders, some of whom are hoping that a bailout of Fannie and Freddie would bring at least some resolution to the problems plaguing the mortgage markets. Many banks and brokerages saw renewed buying late in the day.
Some stocks had turned higher earlier in the day as well after Fannie Mae Chief Executive Daniel Mudd said the concerns about the company's financial position are overblown.
"They haven't offered anything and we haven't asked for anything," Mudd said, referring to the federal government in a public radio interview Wednesday morning. "I don't anticipate that they will do that."
Meanwhile, oil prices finished higher _ bad news for consumers, but a boost to energy company stocks, which also attracted buying on Wednesday.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 68.88, or 0.61 percent, to 11,417.43 after being down by nearly 60 points and up more than 100. Concerns about inflation and the financial sector led the Dow to post its worst two-day performance since late June on Monday and Tuesday with an overall drop of about 310 points.
Broader stock indicators also ended Wednesday with a gain. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 7.85, or 0.62 percent, to 1,274.54, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 4.72, or 0.20 percent, to 2,389.08.


Updated : 2020-12-02 16:15 GMT+08:00