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Stocks end off session lows after powerful reversal; Nasdaq ends positive

Sunny Oh

Most U.S. stock benchmarks closed lower Thursday, but well off the day's worst levels, with the blue-chip Dow shedding as many as 785 points at its lows. The S&P 500 was down 0.2% to around 2,696, based on preliminary numbers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended lower by 79 points, or 0.3%, to 24,948. The Nasdaq Composite finished higher by 0.4% to 7,188. Equities came under pressure throughout the session after a senior executive of Huawei Technologies, a Chinese telecoms group, was detained for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Late in the session, reports suggested senior Federal Reserve officials wanted to adopt a wait-and-see attitude after December's Fed meeting. In company news, shares of Sears Holdings Corp. gained more than 3% after Eddie Lampert's investment fund offered to buy what was left of the retailer for $4.6 billion.