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Stocks rebound strongly after two days of market carnage

U.S. stocks rebounded sharply Tuesday as investors jumped back into a battered stock market to seek out bargains a day after Wall Street turned in its worst performance in four years.

Markets also got a shot of good news with China’s second interest rate cut in two months, but analysts stopped short of declaring that the worst was over.

“What we need to see to calm investors is positive economic data points out of China and only when we see that will the rallies be sustainable,” said Xavier Smith, investment director at Centre Asset Management.

“Right now, it’s pretty meaningless,” he said of the interest rate cut.

Still, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 360 points in the first 15 minutes of trading, having slumped more than 1,000 points Monday morning — its steepest intraday fall ever — and closing with a near 600-point loss.

The broader S&P 500 index also rallied strongly after recording its worst day since 2011 in Monday’s session. And the tech-rich Nasdaq index jumped 3% after Monday’s rout.

All three major Wall Street indexes were lately holding on to most of their early gains. They had fallen into correction mode over the past two trading days. An index is said to be in correction when it closes 10% or more below its 52-week high.

Technology stocks led the market higher. Apple’s (AAPL) stock had slumped as much as 13% on Monday, before ending down 2.5%.

The dollar motored ahead against most major currencies, rising 1.4% against the yen and 0.65% against its currency basket as the stimulus boost to the world’s number two economy gave impetus to the case for a near-term interest rate hike in its biggest.

Global markets were pummeled on Monday, with Chinese shares falling 8%, prompting investor calls for remedial action from authorities that grew louder overnight after the Shanghai Composite Index slumped a further 8%.

Economists said Tuesday’s response — a 25 basis point cut in key rates and 50 bps off the reserve requirement rate for large commercial banks — sent a clear signal that Beijing, which has stepped in several times this year to keep China’s high-powered growth on track, was still willing to intervene.

But as asset prices eased back following the initial euphoria, some questioned whether the measures would help.

“Investors have been waiting for them to act and they have,” said Kallum Pickering, senior economist at Berenberg.

“Is this sufficient? It might not be but it does set a precedent that they are engaged and looking to prevent any further declines.”

Stock prices gained in Europe, recouping the bulk of the 5 percent-plus lost the previous day when around 450 billion euros ($520 billion) was wiped off the FTSEurofirst 300’s value, were also supported by takeover news.

With China the world’s biggest consumer of commodities, crude and metals markets also responded, albeit relatively modestly, to Beijing’s move.

U.S. crude futures traded at $39.40 per barrel, up 3.1% on the day, while Brent rose 2.9 percent to $43.91.

But global oversupply and worries over the severity of the slowdown in China kept oil prices near the 6-1/2-year lows they fell to on Monday, when the market slumped 6%.

In China, where recent market volatility has been at its most extreme, the central bank’s policy move — coming on the heels of a shock devaluation of the yuan two weeks ago — drew a guarded reaction.

“This is a big-bang move… Frankly (it) shows a bit of panic in my mind,” said Andrew Polk, resident economist at the Conference Board in Beijing.