Investors sidestepped some of their doubts about the economy Tuesday and bought energy, industrial and materials stocks.
NEW YORK (AP) — Investors sidestepped some of their doubts about the economy and bought energy, industrial and materials stocks as commodity prices rose.
Stocks ended back-and-forth trading mostly higher Tuesday as a spike in the price of gold and corporate dealmaking extended an advance from Monday. The gains in commodity prices helped stocks pare early losses.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 18 points, while broader indexes rose.
Investors drew some comfort from billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s decision to pay $100 a share for Burlington Northern Santa Fe in a deal valuing the railroad at $34 billion. Meanwhile, tool maker Stanley Works struck a deal to acquire Black & Decker Corp. for $3.46 billion in stock.
Commodities rose broadly and gold jumped to a new high after India’s central bank bought $6.7 billion worth of gold from the International Monetary Fund.
Even with the gains in commodities, traders remained on edge about unemployment and the overall strength of an economic recovery.
Health care products maker Johnson & Johnson said it would cut up to 7 percent of its global work force and streamline its business structure to save up to $900 million next year.
Financial stocks fell after the Royal Bank of Scotland got a $41 billion infusion from the U.K. government.
Traders have been uneasy in recent weeks, wary about whether the economic recovery can maintain the same pace once government stimulus measures are removed. That uncertainty has led to wild swings in the market. The Dow has risen or fallen more than 100 points in six of the last eight trading days, the most volatility since March.
Analysts said a break in the advance could ease worries that the market has run too far.
“This is a much-needed healthy pause and reassessment. It ran so far,” said David Darst, chief investment strategist for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in New York.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow fell 17.53, or 0.2 percent, to 9,771.91, after being down as much as 86 points. The Dow rose 77 points Monday following reports of improvements in manufacturing and housing.
The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.53, or 0.2 percent, to 1,045.41. The Nasdaq composite index rose 8.12, or 0.4 percent, to 2,057.32.