Dow gains more than 600 points as wild stock market volatility continues

The stock market’s volatility is showing no signs of letting up. US equities rallied on Thursday, rebounding from the prior two days of steep losses.

All three major indexes ended the day in the green and then some: The Dow finished up nearly 620 points, or 1.8%. It was the biggest point gain of 2021 for the Dow and best percentage increase since March.

The broader S&P 500 rose 1.4%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lagged behind slightly, up “only” 0.8%.

The rocky ride in the market started last Friday when concerns about the newly identified Omicron variant spooked investors, inciting memories of the highly infectious Delta outbreak, which weighed on the recovery over the summer.

But it’s far too early to tell if the new variant will have the same effect. Meanwhile, investors can distract themselves with perhaps more pressing matters including whether the US government will run out of money this week. Lawmakers also still need to agree on a deal to raise the debt limit.

On top of that, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell dropped a bombshell Tuesday, announcing that the central bank might end its pandemic era stimulus program faster than expected. For the stock market, which prefers easy money policies, that wasn’t good news.

The three major indexes are still in the red for the week, so investors have a little further to go to recoup all the losses they may have incurred during the recent selloffs.

That could be one explanation for Thursday’s upswing: investors are picking up stocks at cheaper prices.

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