Stocks End Higher in Turbulent Trading

Stocks fended off another bout of selling on Wednesday to end the day modestly higher.

The Nasdaq, which had tumbled 8% in the previous 11 trading sessions, ended the day half a percent higher in a volatile session. The techs opened 1% higher and then lost all that plus another 1% before recovering in the final hour of trading.

Weak durable orders and stronger than expected new home sales gave traders much the same fears about inflation and slowing economic growth that have plagued the market since the Federal Reserve suggested two weeks ago that it may not be done raising interest rates. Coupled with investigations into the timing of executive stock option grants, weaker than expected technology earnings, and fears of avian flu and a nuclear showdown with Iran, traders have discovered much to fret about suddenly.

Vonage picked a bad day to go public, losing 12.7% in its debut.

Blue chip stocks were helped by a Merrill Lynch upgrade of GM , overcoming weakness in Boeing on the durable goods report.

The Nasdaq rose 10 to 2169, the S&P 500 climbed 2 to 1258, and the Dow added 19 to 11,117. Volume rose to 3 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.7 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led 19-13 on the NYSE, and 16-14 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 60% on the NYSE, and 41% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 17-215 on the NYSE, and 47-162 on the Nasdaq.

Computer Sciences finished fractionally lower after issuing a financial outlook that was below Wall Street expectations.

Ansoft rose on its results, while Sonic Solutions fell on its earnings report.

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