Big moves in the stock market in the past week

Italy, the Fed, earnings: It's been a bumpy ride in the stock market over the past week

Associated Press

It's been a bumpy week in the stock market after a period of calm in January and most of February. Four of the seven moves of 100 points or greater this year in the Dow Jones industrial average have taken place in the past week.

Here's a look at the market's big moves and what's been driving them.

— Wednesday, Feb. 20: Dow slides 108 points. The drop comes after the Federal Reserve releases minutes from its latest policy meeting revealing discord. The disagreement among policy makers is over how long to continue a bond-buying program that has kept U.S. interest rates ultra-low.

— Friday, Feb. 22: Dow rises 120 points. The gain follows strong earnings reports from Hewlett-Packard, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and other big companies.

— Monday, Feb. 25: Dow falls 216 points. The slide comes after election returns in Italy indicate that the country is headed for political gridlock, threatening its ability to move ahead with unpopular budget-cutting measures. That renewed investor unease about Europe's debt crisis and the region's ability to keep its 17-nation currency union intact.

— Tuesday, Feb. 26: Dow rises 116 points. Evidence builds that the U.S. housing market is recovering. Home Depot, the leading home improvement store chain, reports earnings that beat Wall Street's forecasts; the government reports that sales of new homes jumped 16 percent last month to the highest level since July 2008.

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