US stocks rise for the first time in four days

NEW YORK (AP) — Maybe the sell-off was a little overdone.

That was the sentiment on Wall Street Tuesday as the stock market broke a three-day losing streak. The gain pushed the Standard & Poor’s 500 index back into positive territory for the year.

The rebound was driven partly by bargain-hunting as investors picked up stocks that hold fallen the most in the slump over the previous three days. Utilities stocks also rose sharply as skittish investors bought less-volatile stocks.

Stocks have had a volatile start to April. After closing at a record last Wednesday amid optimism about the improving outlook for the economy, stocks fell sharply on Friday as investors decided that some of the high-flying stocks in the technology and biotech sectors no longer justified their lofty valuations.

The S&P 500 rose 6.92 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,851.96. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 10.27 points, or 0.06 percent, to 16,256.14. The Nasdaq composite rose 33.23 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,112.99.

Even as investors sent stocks higher, they were still being cautious. Investors typically buy utilities stocks when they are worried about volatility in the market. That’s because those companies pay big dividends and demand for the power they generate tends to be stable, regardless of how the economy is doing.

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