Markets Right Now: US stocks open lower as sellers return

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up more than 1,000 points - its biggest single-day point gain ever - rising almost 5 percent as investors returned from a one-day Christmas break.

Stocks are wavering between small gains and losses in midday trading Friday as the market continues to churn amid the volatile trading that has gripped the market throughout December.

Gains in technology companies, retailers, health care and internet stocks drove the broad rally, which gave the benchmark S&P 500 index some breathing room after it slid Monday to just shy of what Wall Street calls a bear market - a 20 percent fall from an index's peak.

The market's gyrations have resulted in unusual volatility for the final days of the year.

Some of the world's biggest markets are yet to react to Wall Street's Christmas Eve sell-off.

"We are in a bear market and when that happens the whole market gets cheap."

The rally also marked the biggest post-Christmas gain in USA stock market history.

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The S&P 500 index fell 44 points, or 1.8 percent, to 2,423 as of 12:55 p.m.

Equity futures were giving back some gains following the biggest one-day Dow point gain in history. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 265 points, or 4.3 percent, to 6,458.

But remember: Prior to Wednesday's sharp rally, the SPX had fallen 15% in the month of December.

The Dow is down 1,840.77 points, or 7.5 percent.

S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq futures are all pointing to a drop of at least 1.5%.

Investors have been unnerved by the potential for weaker economic growth and a partial USA federal government shutdown.

Global investors already had a laundry list of worries, including China's slowing economy, the Trump administration's trade war with China and the unpredictability surrounding Brexit.

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Technology companies, a big driver of the market's gains before the October downturn, slumped Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.9 per cent to 2,488.83 after being down 2.8 per cent at midday.

Sales in the 2018 US holiday shopping season rose 5.1 percent to over $850 billion, the strongest in six years, according to a Mastercard report. The Nasdaq Composite traded 0.2 percent higher after dropping more than 3 percent.

Energy stocks were close behind, led by Marathon Oil (MRO), which surged 11.9% Wednesday.

"We expect the effect on real GDP would amount to -0.07 percentage points per week of shutdown", the report said. Energy companies fell along with the price of oil.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 110.58 yen from Thursday's 111.01 yen.

In Europe, the benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 lost 1.1%.

"The outsized moves are not reflective of the current USA economic landscape, but that seems to matter little so far as fear mongering continues to permeate every pocket of global capital markets", analyst Stephen Innes of OANDA said in a market commentary. Visa added 3 percent to $125.32, while Mastercard gained 3.5 percent to $180.82.

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OIL: Benchmark US crude added 1.4 percent to $43.11 a barrel in NY. Stocks climbed in Taiwan and throughout Southeast Asia.

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