Investors rode out more turbulence Thursday on Wall Street that kept stock indexes flipping between gains and losses until a late-day bounce gave the market a modest gain.
Worries about a possible recession collided with hopes that the strongest part of the U.S. economy — shoppers spending at stores and online — can keep going.
The major U.S. stock indexes spent much of the day reacting to big moves in U.S. government bond yields, which fell sharply in the early going, fluctuated for much of the day, and then recovered some of their decline by midafternoon.
The S&P 500 rose 7 points, or 0.2%, to 2,847.60. The benchmark index swung between a 0.6% gain and 0.5% loss. A day earlier, it plunged 2.9%.
The Dow Jones industrial average, coming off its worst day of the year, gained 99.97 points, or 0.4%, to 25,579.39.
Other indexes didn’t catch the bounce. The Nasdaq composite dropped 7.32 points, or 0.1%, to 7,766.62, while the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies lost 5.87 points, or 0.4%, to 1,461.65.
U.S. government bonds have been among the loudest and earliest to cry out warnings about the economy. Stocks fell sharply Wednesday after a fairly reliable warning signal of recession emerged from the bond market. Even after the slide in yields eased Thursday, the U.S. bond market continued to show concern as yields ended broadly lower.
Stocks in Asia and Europe paved the way for the volatile day on Wall Street early Thursday after China said that it would take “necessary countermeasures” if President Donald Trump follows through on a threat to impose tariffs on more than $100 billion of Chinese goods on Sept. 1.
“What you’re seeing really is what’s been driving the market the last couple of weeks: Trade tensions as well as yield curve