Stocks Close Higher, but Growth Worries Remain

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Stock market traderStocks took an uncomfortably circuitous route to posting broad-based gains Tuesday, as a better-than-expected outlook on global recovery from the Australian central bank was tested by a bleaker assessment of the U.S. economy from the bond market.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) followed Asian and European equity action by vaulting as much as 170 points on solid volume early in the session. At the same time the S&P Volatility Index ($VIX) , or the VIX, plummeted more than 5% to below 30. Any time the so-called investor fear gauge rises above 30, short-term traders jump into the market because heightened volatility is fast money's friend, says Cort Gwon, director of trading strategies and research at FBN Securities.

But now those short-term traders are finally taking a much-needed vacation, Gwon says, allowing the market to trade less on technicals and more on fundamentals. So, it wasn't a surprise when bargain hunters stepped in to scoop up stocks, which, by some measures, look plenty cheap.

Fundamentals, however, cut both ways on Tuesday. By mid-session stocks turned negative and struggled for breakeven levels up to the finish. And the VIX jumped back above 30.

Tumbling Treasury Yields

The culprit? A bond market rally that's flashing slower growth -- perhaps even a double-dip recession -- up ahead. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained stuck below 3%, where it's been mired since before the holiday break. Now the 30-year T-bond has also gotten into the act: Its yield broke 4% to hit 3.93% Tuesday.

Still, by session's end, the Dow added 57 points, or 0.6%, to close at 9,743. The broader S&P 500 ($INX) rose 5, or 0.5%, to 1,028. The more volatile, tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) gained 2 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 2,094.

The euro continued to rally, topping $1.2618 against the dollar. That action and other albeit tepid signs of increased stability in the European financial system likewise hurt gold. The yellow metal lost $15.50 to settle at $1,028 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange (CME). Oil for August delivery rose 10 cents to $72.24 a barrel.

For more on Gwon's second-half outlook for equities, see the video below:

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Markets

S&P 500 2,259.53 13.34 0.59%
DJIA 19,756.85 142.04 0.72%
NASDAQ 5,444.50 27.14 0.50%
DAX 11,203.63 24.21 0.22%
HANG SENG 22,760.98 -100.86 -0.44%
NIKKEI 225 18,996.37 230.90 1.23%
USD (per EUR) 1.06 0.00 0.05%
USD (per CHF) 1.02 0.00 0.02%
JPY (per USD) 115.39 0.02 0.01%
GBP (per USD) 1.26 0.00 -0.01%

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