Nasdaq weathers stormy day as investors waffle

Herald staff

NEW YORK — The growing belief that technology stocks are reaching a bottom turned the battered Nasdaq composite index around in a late-afternoon rally Thursday, but the overall market ended a volatile mixed session.

The technology-focused Nasdaq, down more than 140 points early in the afternoon, closed up 42.61 at 3,272.18 after losing 190 points Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 53.64 at 10,380.12, but retreated from larger gains earlier in the day.

  • Smaller pay hike: American workers’ compensation in the third quarter posted its smallest increase in a year as both wages and benefits grew at a solid but more subdued pace. Economists said Thursday’s report suggests that the nation’s still sizzling labor market is allowing workers to make gains but isn’t producing worrisome wage inflation. That bolstered the belief of many that the Federal Reserve won’t increase interest rates when it meets next month.

  • Thursday prices: Gold sold for $266.40 a troy ounce, silver sold for $4.80 and platinum sold for $588.30.

  • Net rules assailed as too weak: A budget provision banning the Internet sale of Social Security numbers has so many loopholes that President Clinton has promised to veto it, critics of the proposal say. "The bill creates loopholes that seriously undermine the goal of the legislation to protect privacy," Clinton said in a veto threat letter to Republicans Thursday. Critics including the American Civil Liberties Union and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group say the bill exempts financial institutions and professional and commercial users from most provisions.
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