Recent Stock Market Behavior MoodyTHE WASHINGTON POST -- WASHINGTON
The stock market freaked out Thursday morning over the latest evidence that the business conditions are continuing to deteriorate but quickly regained its confidence and staged the kind of turnaround that traders are counting on getting from the economy early next year.
The Dow Jones industrial average began the day with a 150-point dive and in early trading all 30 of the blue chip stocks were down. But after barely half an hour the markets began a steady recovery that produced gains in all the market indicators by day’s end.
The Dow closed up more than 1.25 percent, or 117 points, at 9462.9 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained nearly 15 points at 1100.09. The Nasdaq composite index was up nearly 44 points, or more than 2.5 percent, at 1775.47.
The dramatic reversal caught Wall Street’s pundits with their quotes down. By the time one analyst’s proclamation that “after the sharp gains of the past month or so, the market is entitled to pull back,” hit the Associated Press wire, the pullback was over.
Some Capitol Hill Offices Still UnsafeTHE WASHINGTON POST -- WASHINGTON
Hundreds of lawmakers moved back into their offices on Capitol Hill Thursday, but congressional leaders said fear of anthrax contamination would keep two major office buildings shut for the time being.
As House members reoccupied their offices in the Rayburn and Cannon buildings, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) said he hopes the Dirksen building will be ready to open Friday.
But Daschle cautioned that is likely to be next week before most of the Hart building is opened again -- and possibly even later for the contaminated southeast wing where an anthrax-laden letter was opened in his office Oct. 15. On the House side, leaders are keeping the Longworth office building closed as they await further test results.
Daschle also announced that traces of anthrax were found in a ventilation system filter on the ninth floor of the Hart building and in a Hart stairwell leading from the eighth floor to a ninth-floor conference room.
Capitol Police spokesman Lt. Dan Nichols said the bacteria could have been drawn up through the ventilation system to the filter from Daschle’s fifth and sixth floor offices. He also said Daschle’s staff used the conference room after the letter was opened in his office.
UN Accuses Iraq of Smuggling OilTHE WASHINGTON POST -- UNITED NATIONS
Iraq was caught smuggling $10 million worth of oil through an Athens-based shipping company in violation of U.N. sanctions, the United Nations said Thursday.
U.S. and U.N. officials have long suspected Iraq of siphoning off between $1 billion to $2 billion in oil revenue each year, but this is the first time the United Nations has obtained hard evidence.
Under the a U.N. oil-for-food program begun in 1996, Iraq is allowed to sell oil to buy humanitarian goods, pay restitution to victims of the Persian Gulf War and fund improvements in the country’s infrastructure. Iraq exported more than $18 billion worth of oil last year.
Benon Sevan, the executive director of the program, provided the U.N. Security Council with a letter Wednesday from a Greek captain who admitted illegally exporting 500,000 barrels of Iraqi crude during two trips to the Persian Gulf port of Mina Al-Bakr in May and August.
Chiladakis Theofanis, captain of the oil tanker Essex, wrote to the United Nations and the United States in September that Iraq loaded 1.8 million barrels into his vessel on May 16 while a team of U.N. inspectors looked on.