Calm returned to the stock market Monday after a spasm of fearful selling last week. Major indexes closed mixed after trading modestly lower for most of the day.
U.S. stocks closed higher, recording one of their best days in an otherwise dreary month.
Wall Street gnawed on a muddle of economic data and corporate earnings news Thursday, then sent stock indexes lower for a second day.
Stocks closed lower Tuesday for only the second time in two weeks after two reports suggested an economic slowdown in China, where blistering growth over the past three years has helped sustain the global economic recovery.
Stocks suffered their biggest losses in three months Tuesday, the first hiccup in a strong and steady rally to start the year. Wall Street worried about the global economy and waited while Greece pressured the last investors to sign on for its bailout.
Two signs of trouble elsewhere in the world pushed U.S. stocks lower Monday: slowing economic growth in China and a possible hitch in a deal to get Greece the bailout money it needs to avoid a default.
As America's shale boom increases the domestic supply of natural gas, U.S. companies such as Dominion and Cheniere Energy prudently have used avenues to export natural gas to countries in Europe and Asia where higher demand translates into higher prices.
A brief morning rally Thursday pushed the Dow Jones industrial average above its highest close since the financial crisis of 2008, but disappointing economic data tempered traders' optimism later in the day, and stocks finished lower.
A drop in oil prices and strong bond auctions in Europe drove stocks to a slightly higher close Thursday.