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Markets End Higher, Ending Volatile Week

Many investors are probably about ready for this week to end. It's been a cardiac-inducing one that set a record yesterday: For the first time in history the markets swayed more than 400 points four days in a row.

Today is setting up to be another interesting one on Wall Street. The markets are dealing with three pieces of news: European markets have banned short sales; July saw retail sales climb 0.5 percent, yet consumer confidence is in the gutter, the lowest it's been since May of 1980.

So we'll watch the markets as the day progresses and we'll update this post.

Update at 4:13 p.m. ET. Markets Close Up:

The markets held on to modest gains today. The Dow closed up 126 points, while Nasdaq closed at 0.61 percent up and the S&P closed 0.53 percent up.

The Wall Street Journal reports the Dow ended the wild week down 1.5 percent, "recouping most losses."

Update at 2:19 p.m. ET. The Downgrade Irony:

The Wall Street Journalreports on the S&P downgrade's irony:

Despite the U.S. downgrade a week ago, the yields on 10-year Treasurys is below that of triple-A-rated Germany, France and the U.K.

The German bund is at 2.33%, the U.K. gilt site at 2.528% and the French government bond yields 2.96% while the 10-year Treasury is at 2.26%. The wide gap between France and the U.S. reflects the recent concern about a possible downgrade on France.

Meanwhile, so much for that concern some quarters about a downgrade sending Treasurys into the dumper.

Update at 10:40 a.m. ET. In Early Trading Markets Are Up:

In early trading, the S&P was up 1.2 percent; the Dow was up 1.2 percent and Nasdaq was up 0.7 percent.

The New York Times reports:

The strong start to trading on Wall Street could extend the market's gains from Thursday. While Asian stocks had a lackluster trading day, the Euro Stoxx 50 index of euro zone blue chips was up 4 percent in afternoon trading and the FTSE 100 index in London was up 2.6 percent. The CAC 40 index in Paris was up 3.7 percent, and the DAX in Frankfurt 3.4 percent.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.