The major US stock markets rose on Wednesday after a few days of gloom that dragged them to what was set to be the worst performance in December of all time.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 512 points or 2.4% from 12:45 p.m. ET, while the broad-based Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 2.5%. The biggest gain on a Dow day this year was March 26, when it finished 669 points.
Stocks have fallen sharply in the last few days since US President Donald Trump attacked his own central bank, which raised its main interest rate four times this year, most recently last week.
There was a risk that Wednesday's negotiations would mark the end of the longest bullfight in Wall Street history.
Coming to the day's session, the S & P 500 was about to enter a bear market, defined as a 20% drop from its peak value.
The S & P 500 peaked at 2930.75 on Sept. 20 but before Wednesday was off 19.8 percent from that high point, and had to close just seven more points to stay in bear territory.
The current US bullish market – an increase in stocks without declines of 20% or more – began on March 9, 2009 and became the longest of all time, as of August 22.
At that time, the S & P 500 quadrupled, the Dow index did almost the same, and the Nasdaq index rose 500 percent, before beginning its current declines.
Canada's TSX index, closed for trading on Wednesday due to the Boxing Day holiday, fell 16.8 percent from its historic record set in July. It did not rise nearly as much as the top US indices during the current bull market because it was held back by the oil price collapse in 2015.
Global stock markets have suffered an abysmal December. Markets in Hong Kong, Japan, France, Britain, Brazil and Mexico are down for the month.
If pre-Wednesday levels continue, it would be the worst December recorded in major US markets, despite generally strong economic fundamentals.
"The huge movements do not reflect the current US economic outlook, but that seems to matter little as fear-building continues to permeate all the pockets of global capital markets," said Stephen Innes of OANDA, a trading platform for coins. comment.
Trump management officials spent the weekend trying to ensure that the financial market of US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was safe. On Tuesday, Trump reiterated his view that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates too fast, but called the independent agency rate a "safe form" for a well-off economy.
Trump would also have been upset last week with his Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, who advised him to nominate Powell for the Fed.