Wall Street pulls off another winner

Stocks stage another late session rally, despite subprime, credit market worries.

By David Ellis, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Wall Street cobbled together another late session rally Thursday, with the Dow industrials finishing 100 points higher, even amid persistent subprime and credit market fears.

The Dow Jones industrial index (up 100.96 to 13,463.33, Charts) gained about 100 points, finishing nearly 0.8 percent higher.


The broader S&P 500 (up 6.39 to 1,472.20, Charts) climbed over 0.4 percent higher after dipping into negative territory earlier in the session, while the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite index (up 22.11 to 2,575.98, Charts) rose nearly 0.9 percent.

"A lot of times when you have a snap back a lot of that can be attributed to short covering," said Jim Herrick, head trader at Robert W. Baird. "I think that's what we saw later in the day."

Just a day earlier, markets staged a nearly identical rally in the final moments of the session after remaining in the red for most of the session.

Stocks struggled for most of Thursday's session, as upbeat earnings barely offset worries that tighter credit standards were impacting the financial sector.

Subprime concerns resurfaced after mortgage lender Accredited Home Lenders Holding (down $2.90 to $5.31, Charts) revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it was not certain it would continue to operate because of adverse conditions of the subprime mortgage market. Shares of the company tumbled nearly 38 percent on the news.

American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. (Charts) will close its doors Friday, Newsday reported late Thursday, just two days after the mortgage lender said it was considering liquidating its assets.

Stocks got off to a modestly higher start following improved earnings from Nokia (up $2.49 to $30.90, Charts), Starbucks (down $0.28 to $26.92, Charts, Fortune 500) and Dow component Walt Disney (up $0.53 to $34.36, Charts, Fortune 500).

A weaker-than-expected reading on June factory orders and a surprisingly low weekly jobless claims reading briefly jolted stocks, but ultimately had little impact as Wall Street braced for the big economic reading of the week: Friday's employment report for July.

Right now, U.S. employers are expected to have added 135,000 jobs last month, up from June, according to Briefing.com.

"I think if the number comes in at or above expectations it will be a positive for the stock market in the near term and provide some stability," said Richard Cripps, chief market strategist for broker Stifel Nicolaus.

In other corporate news, financial data processor Fiserv (up $0.31 to $49.50, Charts, Fortune 500) said it will acquire the electronic payment processing company Checkfree (up $8.57 to $45.40, Charts) for $4.4 billion in cash, soothing recent concerns that dealmaking will dry up on Wall Street in the wake of recent troubles in the credit market. Checkfree shares soared 23 percent on the news.

Market breadth was positive. Winners beat losers by nearly 2 to 1 on volume of 1.97 billion on the New York Stock Exchange. Advancers topped decliners 4 to 3 on volume of 2.49 billion on the Nasdaq.

Oil prices remained near record highs reached earlier this week as U.S. light crude for September delivery rose 40 cents to $76.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Treasury prices climbed, lowering the yield on the benchmark 10-year note at 4.77 percent from 4.79 percent late Wednesday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The dollar fell versus the euro and gained against the yen.

COMEX gold for December gained 70 cents to $676.60 an ounce. Top of page