From New York Times, “Retail Worries Help Push Markets Lower”:

The Dow Jones industrial average, which was down 300 points at mid-day, was 140 points lower about 30 minutes before the end of trading, and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was off about 1.8 percent.

On a day when markets across Asia, Europe and the United States were parked in the red, a sudden afternoon spurt caught investors by surprise. Analysts attributed the movement to new measures by the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to reduce foreclosures, as well as cautiously optimistic reports from two equity and investment firms.