Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Stocks Close Higher a Day after Biggest Dive in '12

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Stocks Close Higher a Day after Biggest Dive in '12

Article excerpt

The stock market reclaimed some losses from its biggest dive this year and returned Wednesday to its pattern of steady gains and stable trading. Reassuring reports on productivity and hiring overshadowed worries about the Greek debt crisis.

Stock indexes made solid gains by mid-morning after the government said oil refineries are operating at a faster clip than economists had expected. Oil refiners Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Inc. were among the biggest gainers in the Standard & Poor's 500.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 78.18 points, or 0.6 percent, at 12,837.33. The S&P 500 index gained 9.27, or 0.7 percent, to close at 1,352.63. The Nasdaq composite index added 25.37, or 0.9 percent, to close at 2,935.69.

The Dow dived 203 points on Tuesday, the biggest hitch in a strong rally for stocks this year. Many market-watchers believe that stocks had risen too quickly and were due for a setback. Before Tuesday, the Dow was up more than 6 percent for 2012.

"You wouldn't expect to get it all back in one day," said Jerry Webman, chief economist at OppenheimerFunds Inc.

The average has gained more than 20 percent since last Oct. 3, and the rally has proved resilient. Tuesday was the eighth time during that stretch that the Dow fell more than 200 points. Each previous time, it made up most or all of its losses within days.

Tuesday's sell-off was triggered by fears that not enough private investors would sign on to exchange their Greek government bonds for replacements with a lower face value and interest rate.

Greece needs the investors to agree so it can secure an international bailout of (euro) 130 billion, or $171 billion, and avoid a default later this month that would rattle the world financial system.

By Wednesday, owners of about half of Greece's privately held debt had agreed. …

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