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Stocks End Higher; Dow Up 21.89

September 18, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks rose modestly on Wall Street today, halting a selling spree that swept markets worldwide yesterday and was extended in Europe and most of Asia with the exception of Japan today.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 21.89 at 7,895.66 in heavy trading, according to preliminary figures. In yet another turbulent week, the Dow managed to rise 100.16 points.

Broader indicators also rose, with the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index posting the sharpest gain.

Trading was in a relatively narrow range today, with the Dow up as much as 56.90 in the early going, then falling to a loss of as much as 45.83 this afternoon before recovering late in the day.

The climb left the Dow slightly below where it began the year, at 7,908.25, and still 15.4 percent beneath its July 17 record high of 9,337.97.

The Dow plunged 216.01 points, or by 2.7 percent, on Thursday as stocks skidded around the world on fears not enough was being done to prevent economic crises in Asia and Russia from worsening. Dire profit projections from several major international companies added to the pessimism.

Brokers said the selling was touched off by disappointment that central bankers in the world’s richest nations, especially the United States, have not moved to lower interest rates to stimulate economic activity.

``The market was bullish″ earlier this week amid hopes of a U.S. interest rate cut, said Philip Niem, an analyst with HSBC Securities. But these hopes have been dashed by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s recent comments.

Thursday’s selloff broke a string of four straight rising sessions for the Dow, which had leaped 6.2 percent, or by almost 475 points during its longest winning streak since late June.

Adding to the volatility of markets this week is today’s expiration of options and futures contracts on stocks and options on stock indexes, a quarterly event in the United States known as ``triple-witching″ day.

The Japanese stock market’s major index finished up 0.9 percent today, however, bouncing back from its lowest finish since March 5, 1986.

Tokyo stocks were bolstered by expectations Japan’s ruling and opposition parties would reach a compromise on banking reform in time for Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s visit to the United States next week. After the Tokyo market closed, an agreement was announced between the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the main opposition parties.

Market indicators fell 7.5 percent in the Philippines, 4.8 percent in Indonesia, 3 percent in Singapore and 1.7 percent in Hong Kong.

In Europe, the main index in London closed down 1.5 percent, as did shares at Frankfurt, Germany. In Paris, where stocks swooned 5.5 percent Thursday, the main index fell an additional 1.7 percent.

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