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Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 20:01 GMT 21:01 UK
Wall Street's mood swings
Volatility took hold of Wall Street again Tuesday, with stocks falling sharply despite a favourable round of second-quarter earnings reports
Traders endured another day of frenzied selling

Mid-morning on Wall Street is a pretty quiet time of day.


A lot of traders and investors are trying to get a sense of what the next moves in the market will be

Rob Cohen,
stock trader
The nearly vacant sidewalks belie the flurry of activity taking place just inside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), where traders are busy wheeling and dealing, eyeing constantly fluctuating stock prices.

Monday's roller-coaster ride for blue-chip US stocks made for a busier day than usual for traders.

"Let's hope it doesn't get back to that," said Mike Costaglia, who works on the floor of the NYSE, referring to the massive sell-off on Monday that saw the Dow industrials fall 440 points at one point.

The 30 leading stocks that comprise the Dow industrials then staged a dramatic comeback in the last hour of trading, ending the day down just 45 points.

Further scandal

On Tuesday, the Dow industrials, which include such stocks as General Motors and General Electric, initially fell 250 points but then recovered slightly on the back of soothing words from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

"A lot of traders and investors are trying to get a sense of what the next moves in the market will be," said Rob Cohen, head of listed trading for Brean Murray.

He said Wall Street is awaiting profits statements from some of the US' most prominent firms.

Companies such as Microsoft, International Business Machines (IBM) and Intel are scheduled to report their profits this week for the three months ending 30 June.

But investors are also fearful of that further accounting scandals may emerge on the heels of Enron, Adelphia and the largest of them all, WorldCom.

Six models and plans released by the Port Authority and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation were unveiled Tuesday
Officials unveiled plans to redevelop lower downtown
Despite the caution, Mr Cohen says the mood on Tuesday is decidedly better than the one that sparked Monday's massive selling.

"It seems like the tone is much better than what we've seen [recently]", he told BBC News Online.

Return to normality

No discussion of the current mood of Wall Street would be complete without noting the ongoing effects of the attacks of 11 September, which destroyed the World Trade Center just blocks away.

Wall Street has become a nearly impregnable zone.

The tight security, cordoned-off streets, and block upon block of ripped-up pavement surrounding the NYSE serve as constant reminders of the destruction that took place in the heart of New York's financial district.

That is why on Tuesday, when city officials debuted six plans to redevelop the trade centre site, they chose Federal Hall, the building in which the first US president, George Washington, was sworn into office.

Federal Hall lies just yards away from the stock exchange and three blocks from the 16-acre pit that used to be the World Trade Center.

There, the anxious press peppered officials with questions about the six separate plans put forth to rebuild, restore and revitalise a neighbourhood turned upside down.

It seems whether it is ethereal stock markets or the tangible city itself, everyone is eager for a return to normality.


Analysis

IN DEPTH
The Markets: 9:29 UK
FTSE 100 5760.40 -151.7
Dow Jones 11380.99 -119.7
Nasdaq 2243.78 -28.9
FTSE delayed by 15 mins, Dow and Nasdaq by 20 mins
Launch marketwatch
View market data
See also:

16 Jul 02 | Americas
16 Jul 02 | Business
15 Jul 02 | Business
15 Jul 02 | Business
09 Jul 02 | Business
01 Jul 02 | Business
09 Jul 02 | Americas
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