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At least the week is over

A global rebound in share prices helped buoy Wall Street on Friday, ending a tumultuous week of trading that some global investors feared would result in more wrenching declines.

Markets around the world, which had been roiled by an economic and currency crisis in Southeast Asia, appeared to stabilize after Hong Kong stocks soared early in the day.

That rally spread to Tokyo, London, New York and Sao Paulo, Brazil, at least temporarily reversing the domino effect of price drops that had infected financial markets in the past two weeks.

In New York, the recovery helped lift the Dow Jones industrial average 60.41 points, to 7,442.08. But the Dow suffered one of its worst monthly setbacks in recent years, falling 6.3 percent in October.

That decline came entirely from Monday, when the Dow plummeted 554 points, or 7.18 percent, its biggest rout in a decade.

Since then, investors around the globe have endured a roller coaster ride of buying and selling. On the New York Stock Exchange, nearly 4-billion shares traded this week, easily surpassing the 3-billion-share record set a week earlier. By comparison in the early 1970s, it could take a year to trade 3-billion shares.

The weekend could not have come too soon for many Wall Street traders and analysts who had long been expecting a violent setback to one of the greatest bull markets of all time. But few analysts believe the crisis in Asia will undermine the United States stock market, largely because most of the problems are in countries like Thailand and Malaysia, which account for only a small part of U.S. trade.

"This isn't a fundamental crisis; it's a crisis of confidence," said Alfred Goldman, the director of market analysis at A.G. Edwards Inc., a St. Louis investment firm. "The impact of Asia on our domestic economy is small. The impact is going to be fractional."

The reason, many analysts contend, is that the U.S. economy's diversity is such that problems in isolated parts of the world cannot have a substantial impact. Underscoring this point, the government reported Friday that even though growth accelerated in the third quarter, inflation dropped to its lowest level since 1964.

"The statistics in this country are just fabulous; you just couldn't write better numbers," Charles Pradilla, a market strategist at Cowen & Company, said. "Our figures look better and better in comparison with the rest of the world."

The economy's strength sent interest rates modestly higher Friday, as the yield on the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond rose to 6.15 percent from 6.14 percent on Thursday. But the week's powerful rally in bond prices _ fed by global investors seeking a safe haven from instability elsewhere _ was largely undisturbed. The economy's resilience also helped strengthen the dollar in global foreign exchange dealings.

But most analysts agree that it could be weeks, if not months, before the stock market regains enough momentum to resume its powerful advance.

"What we're seeing is a classical reaction; this is usually the way markets work after a big downturn," Pradilla said. "Until the issues that caused the break are clarified, we're probably going to tread water."

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