(CNN) – The Dow and the broader stock market had another volatile day Thursday, as traders came to grips with another damaging economic report and rising odds of a Federal Reserve interest cut this month.
But after two days of decline, the Dow closed up more than 120 points, or 0.5%, higher. Since Tuesday, the index has fallen more than 700 points.
The S&P 500 climbed 0.8%, and the Nasdaq Composite finished up 1.1%.
Stocks have tumbled over the past days, on worse-than-expected economic data and worries that the US manufacturing sector’s problems could be spilling over to other parts of the American economy.
On Thursday, the Institute of Supply Management on Thursday reported worse-than-expected growth for the US services sector.
That initially spooked markets for the third straight day. Stocks turned sharply lower following the closely watched report, with the Dow falling as much as 335 points at its lowest point.
But stocks rallied back, recovering their losses by midday, as investors’ hopes of a Fed rate cut increased dramatically. Expectations for a quarter-percentage-point interest-rate cut by the Federal Reserve jumped above 90%, compared to 77% on Wednesday and less than 50% last week, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.
Another reason stocks bounced back may be that “we went a little too far, too fast,” and investors might be buying the dip, said Tom Kennedy, head trader and portfolio analyst at New England Investment & Retirement Group.
Signs that the US economy is slowing could trigger a series of rate cuts or other forms of stimulus from the central bank. That typically helps boost markets, although bad news isn’t always good news: Lower interest rates are good for stocks, but the environment that tends to necessitate monetary easing usually isn’t.
The manufacturing sector has contracted for two straight