NEW YORK - The financial markets saw some relative calm Wednesday as investors uneasily awaited a Senate vote on the banking bailout plan, with Wall Street falling only moderately and the credit markets still showing signs of strain.
The Dow Jones industrials zigzagged during the session, losing more than 200 points in early trading but closing down about 20 — far from the huge swings the blue chips saw earlier this week.
Many investors were reluctant to make any major moves before the vote Wednesday night on a revised version of the plan defeated earlier this week by the House.
The new proposal includes tax breaks for businesses and the middle class and increases deposit insurance.
Senators passed the new plan by a wide margin, 74-25.
While they waited, the markets absorbed economic data that was a reminder of the impact of the credit crisi. In an assessment of the manufacturing sector in September, the Tempe-based Institute for Supply Management revealed a troubling drop in new orders.
The trade group’s overall index of manufacturing activity fell to 43.5 in September from 49.9 in August.
The Dow fell 19.59, or 0.18 percent, to 10,831.07. The blue chip index fell 778 points Monday after lawmakers rejected the bailout plan, then rallied 485 points Tuesday on hopes party leaders would find the votes to pass the measure. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 5.30, or 0.45 percent, to 1,161.06, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 22.48, or 1.07 percent, to 2,069.40. Light, sweet crude fell $2.11 to settle at $98.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.