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Stock market avoids the worst with slight rise

August 3, 2011 |  2:25 pm

NYSE1-Reuters All bad things must come to an end.

That could have been the stock market’s mantra Wednesday, as share prices eked out moderate gains that helped the Dow Jones industrial average avoid its longest losing streak in more than three decades.

The Dow rose 29.82 points, or 0.3%, to 11,896.44, although that was better than met the eye because the blue-chip average overcame a 165-point sell-off early in the day. The gain put an end to the Dow’s eight-day losing streak.

Technology stocks led the advance, with the Nasdaq composite index climbing 23.83 points, or 0.9%, to 2,693.07. Bargain hunting among brand-name stocks also played a role.

MasterCard Inc. jumped 13% after the credit-card processing company's second-quarter earnings topped estimates, a sign that consumers may not be reining in spending quite as much as feared.

Economic data were mixed and did little to allay investor fears about the economy.

A private report showed service industries growing at their softest rate in July since early last year, although another report indicated that the economy added a slightly better-than-expected 114,000 private-sector jobs in June.

The market's uptick had little significance given that stocks often bounce after a protracted sell-off, and many investors are bracing for the July unemployment report, which comes out Friday.

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-- Walter Hamilton

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