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More Volatility on Wall Street as Stocks Close Sharply Higher

Financial markets continue to exhibit extreme volatility as investors assess the impact of government intervention in both the U.S. and European banking sectors. VOA's Barry Wood has more.

This time stocks ended higher with the Dow Jones Industrial recovering from a sharp decline to rocket up to a five-percent gain on late Thursday. The closely-watched index gained 401 points to 8,079. There was a huge advance on Monday followed by a nearly as strong decline on Wednesday. European and Asian markets were lower.

Commodity prices closed sharply lower as investors assume demand will weaken along with the slowing world economy. Oil fell another $4 to under $70 a barrel. It was a 14-month low for crude, which has now fallen 52 percent from its July 11 high of $147 a barrel. Gold was also lower with the price declining four percent to a one-month low of $804 an ounce. Gold analyst Thomas Winmill of the Midas Fund in New York expects gold to ultimately advance while the dollar declines.

"The thing that is very interesting to us is that as the dollar sort of shuffled around today, the price of gold came way down," said Thomas Winmill. "But longer term, though, the dollar is going to get weaker. So much money has been created. Fiscal and monetary policies are so weak, we think gold is going to trade up as the dollar goes down."

Winmill spoke on Bloomberg Television. The dollar held steady, trading at $1.34.5 against the euro and at 101 Japanese yen.

Industrial output in the United States fell sharply in September, posting its biggest monthly decline in over 30 years. Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley invesment bank says the housing recession is spreading to the broader economy.

"A housing recession, which was generally on the mild side the first eight months of this year, has shifted to a full blown consumer recession, which has a much bigger impact on a broad swath of the U.S. economy," said Stephen Roach.

The U.S. economy is still technically not in recession as first reports indicate economic activity was positive in the July to September quarter. Since the financial crisis deepened in early September, business activity has contracted sharply.