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Markets volatile following Christmas holiday


Stock markets were up at noon with a sense of post-Christmas cheer on Wednesday, in a volatile day of trading that saw gains rise, disappear, and then come roaring back.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up roughly 500 points, or 2.3 percent, just two days after having its worst Christmas Eve on record, when it plunged over 650 points. The surge followed a morning increase of 280 points that quickly disappeared and briefly turned red before making a comeback.

The S&P 500 similarly rose nearly 60 points, or 2.4 percent, after experiencing a similar roller coaster in the morning. That index had entered bear market territory Monday, a 20 percent drop from its August high point.

Volatility has remained high as political and economic uncertainties intensify. Among concerns are expectations of slowing economies in the U.S. and abroad, increasing interest rates, an ongoing trade war and political dysfunction in Washington that has led to a government shutdown, now in its fifth day, as well as intense turnover at the White House.

Last week, Defense Secretary James Mattis said he would resign in February over fundamental disagreements with President Trump, who then said he would force Mattis out two months earlier than Mattis planned.

Trump currently has temporary or "acting" officials running the Justice Department and Interior Department and functioning as his White House chief of staff.

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