Wall Street showed signs of stabilizing today as hesitant investors tried to rebound from Monday's reopening shockwave that sent blue-chip stocks to their biggest one-day point drop.
At 1 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average was up 42.62 to 8,963.32, while the Nasdaq rose 6.81 to 1,586.36. The S&P 500 advanced 2.85 to 1,041.62.
The Dow closed down 684.81 at 8,920.70 on Monday, a disappointing result for debut trading after the four-day market shutdown forced by the destruction of the World Trade Center. It was a record one-day point drop and the first close below 9,000 since Dec. 21, 1998. The previous record for a one-day drop was 617.78, on April 14, 2000.
"To buy stocks you need some kind of clarity and confidence, and right now you've got neither," said Bill Barker, investment consultant at Dain Rauscher in Dallas. "The buying public is sitting on its hands. The sellers are obviously in control now."
Today's trading was lighter than the day before, in part because of the observance of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year.
Analysts said uncertainty, which has been a problem on the market for months, represents an even greater challenge now. Whereas before, investors were just guessing about business would improve, now Wall Street is trying to figure out how the attack will affect business.
Bargain hunting accounted for much of today's buying with early winners including airlines, which endured double-digit dollar losses Monday. AMR, the parent of American Airlines, gained $2.26 to $20.26, and UAL, the parent of United Airlines, rose $1.65 to $19.15. Since the attacks, all major U.S. airlines have announced reduced flight schedules, anticipating that a fear of flying will curb demand.
Other winners included technology companies, which analysts said could benefit as businesses, particularly in the financial sector, spend more money to revamp offices in the wake of the attacks. IBM rose $2.61 to $95.95, while Microsoft advanced $1.22 to $54.13. Both are Dow industrials.
Meanwhile, losers included sectors, such as travel services and insurance, that were weak Monday. Online travel agent Expedia fell $3.35 to $20.65.
Insurers again traded lower as the industry faces big losses following last week's attacks. American International Group fell 68 cents to $70.32.
Financial companies suffered as Wall Street expects that investors and consumers will invest, spend and borrow less amid greater uncertainty about the economy. Dow industrial American Express skidded $2.38 to $27.87.