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Stocks recover after Japan dives 7.3%

(USA Today) U.S. stocks tanked early Thursday, following a 7.3% plunge in Japan stocks, but then reversed course and benchmark indexes ended only modestly lower for the day.

The Dow Jones industrial average sank more than 125 points after the opening bell but trimmed those losses considerably by the close, shedding 12 points on the day. Helping to boost the Dow were two positive economic reports and a 14%-plus surge in shares of Hewlett Packard, a Dow component.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 had slid 1.2% earlier and the tech-laden Nasdaq composite index had dropped more than 1% at the open. But those earlier declines were erased by optimism about PC giant HP reporting better-than-expected quarterly results late Wednesday.