US stocks surge in best rally since March 2009

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped about 300 points early today, a day after notching its biggest-ever point gain, as the market endures a bout of volatility to end what has been a topsy-turvy year. At its lowest, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 611 points. The S&P 500 came within 2 points of falling 20 percent from its late-September closing high, a threshold commonly used to define a bear market. Shares of former market leaders - namely tech stocks Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Amazon and Alphabet - had Buy orders at their backs as traders finally put the cash they have raised the past three months back to work.

The Dow closed at 22,878 the day after Christmas, a 1,086-point, almost five percent gain on the day.

Financial markets in Australia, Hong Kong were closed for a public holiday, along with bourses in London, Paris and Frankfurt.

In recent days, Trump's tweet attacks on the Fed and chairman Jerome Powell for raising interest rates stoked fears about the central bank's independence, unnerving the market.

Investors have been unnerved by the potential for weaker economic growth and a partial USA federal government shutdown. "Amazon's stock also jumped 7.3 percent after the company said it sold a record number of items this holiday season".

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4 per cent to 2,943.37 while Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 0.1 per cent to 20,043.25.

Petroleum-linked shares also had a good session, with Chevron winning 6.3 per cent and Halliburton 5.1 per cent following the rally in oil prices. The downturn that began in October has intensified this month, erasing all of the market's 2018 gains and nudging the S&P 500 closer to its worst year since 2008. Small caps joined the rally with a 5 percent advance. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged nearly 700 points and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 4%.

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Stocks are down sharply Thursday, making the prior day's strong performance seem like an aberration, as Wall Street stumbles toward what could be its worst December since the Great Depression.

A sharp decline in oil prices weighed on energy stocks. It gained 4.7%, the biggest percentage gain since March 2009. Nordstrom picked up 4.2 percent to $46.06.

Benchmark U.S. crude, meanwhile, climbed 8.7 per cent to US$46.22 a barrel in NY.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and 194 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded five new highs and 455 new lows. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, lost 4.2 percent to $52.16 a barrel in London. The Bureau of Economic Analysis said Wednesday that it's required to suspend all operations until Congress approves funding, which means that the government might not release its fourth-quarter report on gross domestic product as scheduled for January 30.

The Dow is up 693.45 points, or 3.1 percent.

The dollar strengthened to 111.36 yen from 110.41 yen on Monday.

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