Most Barometers End Higher
NEW YORK (AP) -- Hewlett-Packard held back the Dow, but most stock indexes rose Tuesday after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates again to guard against a recession.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average swung 173 points from an 82- point loss to a 91-point gain, but ended 24.97 lower Tuesday at 8,986.28.
The broad market finished mixed, with smaller companies lagging an afternoon rebound that began as Fed officials reduced the central bank's lending rates for the third time since late September. "We went through a massive correction this summer that was an expression of our worst fears. But one by one, each of those fears has been peeled back. We're not having a recession and the financial system isn't melting," said Joe Battipaglia, chief investment strategist at Gruntal & Co. The Dow's short-lived rally lifted it above 9,100 for the first time since July 22, just five days after it peaked at 9,337.97 on July 17. If not for Hewlett-Packard, which fell the equivalent of 24 Dow points, the blue-chip barometer would have essentially broken even for the day. H-P's shares slid 6 1/16 to 60 1/16 following a quarterly report late Monday that exceeded most forecasts, but warned anew of the continuing impact of the economic weakness in Asia and Latin America. While the prospect of more borrowing and spending was generally well received in the market, it also was hard to avoid the inescapable conclusion that the economic backdrop must be rather dire to merit such aggressive action. The last time the Fed embarked on such a course was in late 1991, when the economy was shaking off a recession. "Obviously, the Fed knows more than you or I do," said Thom Brown, market strategist at Rutherford, Brown & Catherwood in Philadelphia. "It's an indication that the Fed is much more concerned than people were realizing about the whole global economic situation. …