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U.S. stock indexes back to levels before 'flash crash' day [Updated with closing prices]

May 12, 2010 | 11:52 am

Like it never happened?

Major U.S. stock indexes on Wednesday have recouped all or nearly all of their losses from last week’s mini-crash and its aftermath.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended with a gain of 148.65 points, or 1.4%, to 10,896.91. That put the index above its closing level of 10,868.12 on May 5 -- the day before Thursday’s plunge of 348 points, which was the net loss after the “flash crash” that saw the index plummet almost 1,000 points intraday, then rebound.

The Dow also fell 140 points Friday, then rocketed 405 points Monday after the European Union announced a massive rescue plan for its weakest states.

European stock markets rallied again Wednesday on optimism that the rescue will work. It helped the mood that Portugal was able to raise $1.3 billion by selling 10-year bonds at an auction that apparently saw strong investor demand.

Wall Street got a boost from the government’s report that exports rose 3.2% in March to a 17-month high, although the nation’s trade deficit still widened, hurt by a higher bill for oil imports. A bullish long-term business outlook from IBM also underpinned the market.

The Standard & Poor’s 500, up 15.88 points, or 1.4%, to 1,171.67 for the day, was above its May 5 close of 1,165.90 and just 3.7% below its 2010 closing high of 1,217.28 on April 23.

At last Thursday's flash-crash low the S&P was down 12.4% from its 2010 high.

The Russell 2,000 small-stock index, up 20.63 points, or 3%, to 716.11 in Wednesday's rally, was above its May 4 close of 709.70 and off 3.5% from its 2010 high reached April 23.

-- Tom Petruno