NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. blue-chip stocks started to claw back today from Tuesday's slide, although technology stocks remained under pressure as investors cashed in on last year's record-shattering gains amid worries about the profitability of Internet companies.
European markets were down in late trading, but had recovered from their lows of the day. Asian markets, which ended their trading before American markets opened, suffered substantial losses.
The Dow Jones industrial average, which plummeted almost 360 points Tuesday, was up 102.07 at 11,100.00 at late morning. But the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index, which plunged a record 264 points Tuesday, was off an additional 70.51 points, or by 1.8 percent, at 3,831.18.
Among unsettling factors for technology shares was news that Amazon.com's losses were not narrowing, despite a jump in Christmas sales of books and music.
Interest rate jitters still gripped markets and investors appeared to take little comfort in a decision today by the European Central Bank to hold interest rates steady. There are widespread expectations that rates will rise in the United States and overseas in the coming months, squeezing corporate profits, cooling the economy and taking a toll on stock prices.
Wim Duisenberg, president of the European Central Bank, skirted direct mention of boosting interest rates, but said inflation was rising, mainly because of increasing energy costs, and would peak early this year.
In the latest confirmation that the U.S. economy is growing with vigor, keeping inflation fears afloat, the Commerce Department said today that American factory orders for manufactured goods rose 1.2 percent in November, the first increase since August, as companies producing electronic products enjoyed a surge in demand.
In afternoon trading in Europe, major indexes were down 2.1 percent in London, 3.4 percent in Paris and 0.74 percent in Frankfurt, Germany.
In Asia, traders staged a huge selloff today led by a big slide in prices on the Hong Kong market.
Blue chips on Asia's biggest market, the Tokyo Stock Exchange, bounced back from steep early losses but still finished with a 2.4 percent decline for the day.
The mood was mostly gloomy throughout the region, with investors bailing out of technology shares.
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