NEW YORK - Wall Street fluctuated sharply in early trading Tuesday, with investors getting some encouragement that the Federal Reserve's plan to buy massive amounts of corporate debt will help unclog the credit markets.
Investors, many still hoping that policymakers slash interest rates to revive the economy, appeared satisfied by the Fed's latest effort. Buying up the short-term debt known as commercial paper is expected to create demand in the credit markets and make it easier for companies to finance day-to-day operations.
Credit has been scarce in recent weeks as the market seized up after Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, and banks became fearful about lending to each other. That paralyzed borrowing, and its effects have been felt by companies and consumers alike.
Major market indexes remained volatile in early trading, with some investors believing the central bank needs to make more dramatic moves to stabilize the economy. Many are hoping the Fed, in concert with central banks of other nations, will cut interest rates.
The Dow Jones industrials fell 46.04, or 0.46 percent, to 9,909.46, one day after it dropped below the 10,000 mark for the first time in four years. The blue chip index fell as much as 800 points on Monday before closing with a loss of 370.
Broader indexes were mixed. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.18, or 0.02 percent, to 1,056.71; and the Nasdaq composite index added 11.56, or 0.62 percent, to 1,851.40.