At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.4 percent at 25,578.00, and the broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.3 percent to 2,847.66, rebounding some from Wednesday’s rout.
But the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.1 percent to finish the session at 7,766.62.
The modest recovery came after US stocks fell sharply on Wednesday on rising recession fears, with the Dow suffering its worst session of 2019.
“It’s a schizophrenic market,” said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA Research, who attributed the market’s lurches to changing headlines on the US-China trade war and fluctuations in US Treasury yields.
The yield on the 30-year bond hit an all-time low, while the 10-year note plunged to its lowest level in three years before recovering somewhat.
Tumbling longer-term yields are seen as an indicator of waning confidence in medium- and long-term growth.
US retail sales jumped 0.7 percent in July, topping expectations and reassuring investors that US consumers remain on strong footing.
But on the downside, US manufacturing production dropped 0.4 percent during the same month, as the trade war weighed on the sector.
Among individual stocks, Walmart surged 6.1 percent after raising its full-year profit forecast. The retail giant expressed confidence that it could mitigate the effects of higher tariffs in the US-China trade war more effectively than smaller retailers.
Fellow big-box chains Target and Costco also gained, along with Amazon. But other retailers fell sharply, including Best Buy, which lost 4.5 percent, Macy’s, which lost 3.8 percent, and Gap, which slumped 7.1 percent.
Dow member Cisco Systems plunged 8.6 percent on disappointment over the company’s forecasts.
General Electric dove 11.3 percent after accounting expert Harry Markopolos — who sounded the alarm about the Bernie Madoff investment scam — accused the company of fraud, an allegation the industrial giant strongly denied.
GE said the claims were tainted by the accuser’s desire to profit off a drop in the company’s share price. (AFP)