- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 13, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) Buyers still worried about the economy but unable to resist bargain prices went back to Wall Street late in yesterday's session, giving stocks some modest, hard-fought gains.
Investors overcame their misgivings about earnings warnings from Merck and American Express, which had sent prices falling for much of the day.
"Investors want to be buyers at lower prices, and I guess we just hit lower prices," said Scott Bleier, chief investment strategist at Prime Charter Ltd. "There is a big desire to get money back to work on weakness, which is why the bouts of profit taking have been limited. Money wants to get into stocks."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 6.44, or nearly 0.1 percent, at 9,894.81, after falling as much as 81 earlier.
The broader market followed the same path, turning losses into gains in the last 30 minutes of trading. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended up 9.45, or 0.5 percent, to 2,011.38, having lost 26 points at one point. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index inched up 0.31, or 0.03 percent, to 1,137.07, recovering from a10-point loss.
Analysts were unfazed by the selling that persisted for most of the session, and said the market's post-attack comeback is more important than occasional downturns.
The Dow is 20.1 percent above its Sept. 21 low for the year of 8,235.81, which followed the September 11 terror attacks. The Nasdaq is up 41.3 percent from its low; the S&P;, up 17.7 percent.
"To come back from that kind of hit is a Herculean feat, and basically states there will be an economic recovery next year," Mr. Bleier said.
Much of the market's late-day boost came from the technology sector, which has suffered the most from the economic slump and which many analysts have predicted will ultimately lead the market higher.

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