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The index is still clocking its biggest percentage drop in any December since the Great Depression and roughly three-quarters of its stocks are in bear market. It is the largest single-day point gain in the history of the Dow.

The S&P 500 is down 205.91 points, or 7.7 per cent. After meeting with the CEOs of the six largest USA banks, Mnuchin tweeted that banks had "ample liquidity" to meet the needs of borrowers.

ANALYST'S QUOTE: Improved U.S. sentiment "provided Asia markets with the intraday relief into the end of the week", said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report. By some technical measures, the S&P was its most oversold in years following Monday's sell off.

us stocks rose modestly on Wednesday, boosted by technology shares and an Amazon-led jump in retailers, helping pull the S&P 500 from the brink of bear market territory following punishing few sessions.

The S&P 500 opened lower by 25.20 points, or 1.02 per cent, at 2,442.50.

Stocks found their footing after wobbling in morning trade. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.9 percent to 2,488.83 after being down 2.8 percent at midday. At the start of Wednesday's trading, all the major indexes were in or close to a bear market. "You can not make the assumption that this correction is over, but today's action is definitely a very positive signal".

The Dow is down 1,840.77 points, or 7.5 per cent.

Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 3.5 percent to settle at $44.61 a barrel in NY.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.76 percent.

"The move you see is just everybody trying to get out of these super, super bearish positions that they have been in, that have been easy to make money in".

All 11 major S&P 500 sectors ended in positive territory, with the technology sector after being beaten up during the recent pullback, rising 6.1 percent. But despite Wednesday's surge, it remained on pace for its biggest monthly percentage drop since February 2009, during the throes of the financial crisis.

Indeed, S&P 500 futures weakened modestly when trading resumed later on Wednesday to kick off the overnight session. "Gains would be a nice extra, but less volatility would help support confidence in the market, and permit longer-term investment decisions - by investors and corporate planners".

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's job was not in jeopardy, helping ease nerves after President Donald Trump's repeated criticism of the Fed over the past few days.

Trump has said the Federal Reserve is the "only problem" for the USA economy, repeatedly criticizing the central bank for raising interest rates. The euro advanced to $1.1456 from $1.1430.

Inc jumped 6.12 per cent after reporting a "record-breaking" season.