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Market rises for bargain

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Investors put their fears about Iraq on hold Wednesday, bidding shares higher for a second straight day despite President Bush’s warning that a war is more certain.

Lower prices following two weeks of heavy selling brought bargain hunters to Wall Street. But the market still had to fight hard for its gains — trading was choppy in response to Bush’s State of the Union address Tuesday night and bad earnings news from companies including Kraft Foods.

After dropping as much as 143.84 in early trading, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 21.87, or 0.3 percent, at 8,110.71, according to preliminary calculations. The Dow built on the nearly 100 points gained Tuesday to score its first multiple-day advance in two weeks, or since the four-day winning period that ended Jan. 14.

The market’s broader gauges also finished higher, having shaken off earlier losses. The Nasdaq composite index rose 15.93, or 1.2 percent, to 1,358.11. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 5.83, or 0.7 percent, to 864.37.

Still, analysts say the market won’t continue to move higher or be able to hold on to gains until it is clear what will happen in Iraq — when and if there will be a war and how successful the United States is in it.

Investors are highly concerned that a war with Iraq will botch an already shaky economic recovery and have been selling stocks for two weeks based on that fear and on disappointing earnings results and forecasts.