The US stock market has made a late-day comeback, hoping that homeowners will get more help with their mortgages.
A news report that the government plans to subsidize troubled homeowners' mortgage payments helped the Dow Jones industrial average pare sharp losses Thursday afternoon and finish down less than 7 points. The Federal Housing Finance Agency declined to comment on the report.
The idea of targeted help for homeowners impressed investors more than the government's $789 billion economic stimulus package and its revised plan to bail out problem banks.
"It's one little piece of the puzzle that clears up some of the uncertainty," said Joe Keetle, senior wealth manager at Dawson Wealth Management.
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