For a while Friday, it was anybody's guess whether the weeklong sell-off would ease or worsen.
Again, although all investors, including this columnist, breathed a sigh of relief after Friday's positive closing bell was rung at 4 p.m. ET, it will take more convincing to prove whether this positive day marks a sustainable bottom to what is now an official stock market correction, or whether it's just a head-fake.
Yesterday marked another day of recent sharp swings including the S&P 500's biggest drop in more than six years that pulled equities away from record highs.
It's the second time this week it has fallen over 1,000 points. The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.9 percent at 7,051.98. That meant all three indexes dipped into what is considered a "correction" in the markets.
The broader S&P 500 index closed up 38 points, or 1.5 percent, at 2,620 and the Nasdaq finished up 97 points, or 1.4 percent, at 6,874. The Nasdaq composite shed 27 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,939.
The Dow Jones Transport Average index fell 0.23 percent. Energy companies dropped along with oil prices and technology companies also declined.
USA crude was down 2.17% to US$60.44 a barrel.
Crude oil prices have also retreated during the market turmoil.
Wall Street lost steam in afternoon trade, after USA 10-year Treasury yields rebounded to 2.836 per cent (their highest levels in four years).
US stocks started to tumble last week after the Labor Department said workers' wages grew at a fast rate in January. Those include worries about a potential rise in USA inflation or interest rates and whether budget disputes in Washington might lead to another government shutdown.
Stocks swung wildly in another volatile day of trading Friday.
The other major indexes also traded up. This was its biggest one-day reversal in two years. Many market watchers have been predicting a pullback, saying stock prices have become too expensive relative to company earnings.
The market, now in its second-longest bull run of all time, had not seen a correction for two years, an unusually long time.
Corrections are seen as entirely normal during bull markets, and even helpful in removing speculative gains and allowing new investors to buy into the market at lower prices. The S&P 500 is down the same percentage, plummeting to close at 2,581 on Thursday. Stocks moved up to Janet Yellen's historically high valuations because the risk-free interest rate is a key variable in any valuation model, be it discounted cash flow or discounted dividends. That's because growing deficits force the U.S. Treasury to issue more bonds, and investors are likely to demand higher rates before buying them. "In this case, USA investors' demand for safe fixed income securities would just replace riskier emerging markets investments", writes Oxford Economics.
Based on many economists' current projections, Australia's Reserve Bank is expected to lift interest rates at the end of this year, or in 2019. Brent crude, the worldwide standards, lost 57 cents to $67.06 a barrel in London.