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Traders Craig Spector (left) and David O'Day work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Stocks clawed their way back, making up some of Monday's losses.

NEW YORK — Stocks climbed on Tuesday and clawed back a chunk of their losses from Monday's rout, the latest whipsaw move as investors weigh just how badly the escalating U.S.-China trade war will hurt the economy.

The day's rally was nearly a mirror image of Monday's plunge, when the S&P 500 had its worst day since early January, just not as severe: Technology companies led the way higher after bearing the brunt of the selling on Monday, Treasury yields rose modestly and gold gave back a bit of its gains.

The S&P 500 rose 22.54 points, or 0.8%, to 2,834.41. It recovered nearly a third of its loss from Monday, and would now need to rise 3.9% to regain the record it set a couple weeks ago. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 207.06, or 0.8%, to 25,532.05, and the Nasdaq composite index jumped 87.47, or 1.1%, to 7,734.49.

Of course, stocks are still lower than they were last week, following China's pledge to raise tariffs on U.S. goods. Stocks also remain lower than they were on May 5, when President Donald Trump ignited this latest round of fear for markets by announcing on Twitter that the U.S. would raise tariffs on Chinese goods.

Tuesday's rally came after another round of morning Trump tweets on trade. He said, "When the time is right we will make a deal with China," and he cited his "unlimited" respect for and friendship with China's leader.

Investors are looking for a "place of equilibrium," said Mark Hackett, chief of investment research for Nationwide Investment Management.

"My skepticism is that there's really not a lot of news driving the rally," he said. "It feels like an attempted recovery that may not have legs."

In the meantime, any further hints of resolution on the trade dispute — or Twitter storms — could drive markets into their next swing.

"We're not counting on a full resolution," said John Lynch, chief investment strategist at LPL Financial. "But, we're looking for a path to progress."

The worries about trade have shattered what had been a remarkably steady rise for stocks at the start of this year. As 2019 began, investors increasingly bet that a trade deal would happen, and the Federal Reserve said it would take a pause in raising interest rates, which helped the S&P 500 rocket to its best start to a year in decades.

If the trade dispute gets worse, or lasts longer than many expect, it could hurt confidence among businesses and households. If that in turn drives spending lower, it would lead to lower economic growth and corporate profits.

On Tuesday, at least, such worries eased. An index known as Wall Street's "fear gauge," which measures how much traders are paying to protect themselves from upcoming price swings for stocks, dropped 12.1%. A day earlier, it had spiked 28.1%.

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Night news editor

I am night news editor of the Lincoln Journal Star.

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