Stocks tumbled Monday in the wake of the American Airlines crash near Kennedy Airport, but rebounded when it appeared that the crash might be a horrible accident rather than the result of a new terrorist attack.
Airline, travel, entertainment and insurance stocks, all of which were hit hard after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, dropped sharply as the news of the plane crash at 9:17 a.m. hit the stock market just before it opened. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 198 points early in the session, underscoring investor nervousness of future terrorist attacks.
"It was difficult news for the market, coming just two months and a day after Set. 11," said Thomas Galvin with Credit Suisse First Boston.
Stocks began to rally, however, after a White House briefing at noon. In the briefing, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer seemed to calm fears that this was another terrorist attack.
The Dow finished down 53.63 at 9,554.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 index, which declined as much as 21 during the day, closed at 1,118.33, down just 1.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 11.65 to 1,840.13, reversing a 42-point drop.
Analysts were encouraged by the market's recovery, especially since stocks were expected to pull back after rallying for several weeks.
"It's pretty impressive _ the market's resiliency _ especially after last week's advance," said Jon Brorson, director of equities at Northern Trust.
But analysts said other investors, wary of making bigger commitments to stocks until terrorism is officially ruled out as a cause, sat out the session, making volume lighter than usual.
_ Information from the New York Times and Associated Press was used in this report.