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Stock market rebounds after sharp selloff

The signs of a bear market
The signs of a bear market 01:28

Stocks clawed their way back Thursday after six straight declines had wiped out much of the year's gains on major indexes. Yet analysts say financial markets are likely to remain volatile as investors fret over signs that U.S. and global economic growth is slowing.

The rebound comes after three weeks of sharp swings and steep losses. Strong financial results propelled the comeback, led by industry bellwethers including Comcast, Microsoft and Visa. 

The Dow, which had plunged a total of more than 900 points over the last three trading sessions, climbed 401 points, or 1.6 percent, to close at 24,984.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped nearly 3 percent, buoyed by solid earnings from Twitter and Tesla. The electric car maker's shares added more than 9 percent a day after it surprised Wall Street by posting only its third quarterly profit since going public in 2010. The broader S&P 500 also pushed back into positive terrain for the year, along with the Dow. 

U.S. stocks fall 01:20

Despite those gains, most forecasters see more volatility ahead, while others predict a longer term downturn amid signs the U.S. economy is losing momentum. More than two-thirds of S&P 500-listed stocks are now either in a "correction" or a "bear" market.     

A bear market is one where stock prices decline at least 20 percent from their recent peak. A correction is when shares drop at least 10 percent from their recent highs.   

"We think that the bounce in the S&P 500 today after its slump on Wednesday will prove temporary, as investors become even more worried about the outlook for the U.S. economy in the next few quarters," analysts with Capital Economics said in a note. 

Although the Commerce Department is expected on Friday to report robust economic growth for the third quarter, the Federal Reserve and independent economists expect activity to slow over the final three months of the year and in 2019.

A key factor weighing on stocks in recent weeks: interest rates. The Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark federal funds rate three times this year as it moves to keep the economy on track without boosting inflation beyond policymakers' 2 percent target. Rising borrowing costs could stifle growth, some investors fear, while President Trump has repeatedly criticized the push to hike rates.

In a speech Thursday in Washington, D.C., Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said the rate hikes are likely to continue as long as the economy remains healthy.

"Even after our most recent policy decision to raise the range for the federal funds rate by 1/4 percentage point, monetary policy remains accommodative, and I believe some further gradual adjustment in the policy rate range will likely be appropriate," he said.

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