(CBS/ AP) Wall Street seesawed Friday, with the Dow Jones industrials spinning from an early loss of nearly 700 points to a modest late-day advance while investors looked for bargains after eight straight days of massive losses. The Dow still headed for its worst week ever, though, as investors still worried about credit markets that remain near paralysis.
The hair-trigger mentality of the market was evident from the opening bell. The Dow fell to its lows in the first 15 minutes, recovered to an advance of more than 100 before the first hour was over, then turned sharply lower again before wavering toward the day's end. Investors were nervously in the last hour of trading, which has tended to see the heaviest selling over the past week of tremendous losses.
Frozen credit markets and a loss of confidence in the world's financial system have caused the Dow to drop 21 percent in just 10 trading days. The blue chip index tumbled 678 points Thursday, and is heading to its worst weekly point and percentage drop since being created 112 years ago.
Thursday's late-day drop combing with Friday's opening bell plummet could be a sign that the market's bottom is approaching, CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason said.
The Dow's low in Wall Street's last bear market was 7,286.27, reached Oct. 9, 2002. The blue chips sank as low as 7,882.51 on Friday.
President Bush argued that high anxiety among both investors and the general public about the economy is making the credit crisis more severe.
Mr. Bush spoke as leaders of the world's leading economies gathered in Washington. He said the United States is working "closely with our partners from around the world" to steady the stressed financial markets. Mr. Bush also said during the statement at the White House Rose Garden that "we're in this together and we'll come through this together."
From Wall Street's perspective, the goal of the talks with world financial leaders, Mason said, is for a coordinated response that will calm the markets in time for Monday's trading.
The major indexes had sharp swings throughout the day, likely exacerbated by the computer-driven "buy" and "sell" orders that kicked in when prices fell far enough to make some stocks look like attractive bets or make other investors want to exit the market. The spurts of buying didn't reflect an easing of the market's despair, and so the heavy selling continued.
"Fear has been running rampant all over the Street. Fear and greed, that's what rules the Street. I think the carcass has been stripped to the bone," said Dave Henderson, a floor trader on the New York Stock Exchange for Raven Securities Corp.
Many investors have waited until the final hour of trading each day this week to hit the "sell" button, so investors appeared uneasy about how the market would look at 4 p.m., when the closing bell sounds. The selling can intensify as mutual funds and hedge funds are forced to raise cash to meet investors' "sell" orders and as nervous investors otherwise shy from placing bets in such a jittery market. In addition, Fridays are particularly troublesome as so much news that affects the markets - from bankruptcies to bailouts - has arrived in recent weekends.
At the start of Friday's session, losses for the year totaled a staggering $8.3 trillion, as measured by the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Composite Index, which tracks 5,000 U.S.-based companies representing nearly all stocks traded in the U.S.
In the final hour of trading, the Dow rose 74.31, or 0.87 percent, to 8,653.50. At its low point Friday, the Dow was down 696 at 7,882.51, just 60 points above its low in Wall Street's last bear market, 7,286.27, reached Oct. 9, 2002.
Broader stock indicators also rose. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.24, or 0.14 percent, to 911.16, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 15.98, or 0.97 percent, 1,661.10.
European stocks sank, with Britain's FTSE-100 down 7.3 percent, German's DAX down 7.7 percent, and France's CAC-40 down 7.5 percent. In Asia, the collapse of Japan's Yamato Life Insurance caused already nervous investors to pull even more money out of the market - the Nikkei 225 fell 9.6 percent.
Central banks around the world were forced to cut interest rates this week after continuing problems in the credit market triggered concerns that banks will run out of money. Analysts have described the mood on trading floors as panicked, with investors bailing out of stocks on fears there is no end in sight to the financial carnage.
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