Stocks Barely Budge to Wrap Dismal Week
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The major U.S. equity averages closed out a dismal week with a mixed finish on Friday as results from a pair of big banks added to investor anxiety about earnings season.
Spain was also a lingering issue for the market as questions continued to swirl about if and when the country may request bailout funds. A jump in consumer sentiment drove early gains but the market had little staying power and gold was a big loser.
Both JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) were unable to get any traction from their generally strong numbers. JPMorgan handily beat Wall Street's profit view but net interest margins dipped, while Wells Fargo edged the consensus earnings estimate by a penny but fell short on the top line.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added more than 2 points, or 0.02%, to settle at 13,329. The blue-chip index ranged roughly 105 points on the day, running as high as 13,401 and as low as 13,296. For the week, the Dow fell 2.1% but it remains up 9.1% so far in 2012.Losers were ahead of winners within the Dow, 18 to 11 with Pfizer (PFE) finishing flat. Boeing (BA), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), IBM (IBM), and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) were among the biggest Dow gainers. Shares of Wal-Mart rose 1.1% after Jefferies lifted its rating on the stock to buy from hold and boosted its price target to $88 from $74, citing stronger revenue momentum. The biggest blue-chip decliners were AT&T (T), Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan, and Verizon (VZ). The S&P 500 lost more than 4 points, or 0.30%, to finish at 1428.59, while the Nasdaq was off more than 5 points, or 0.17%, to settle at 3044. The S&P 500, which has fallen in five of last six sessions, slid 2.2% for the week and is now up 13.6% for the year. The Nasdaq, whose losing streak is up to six days, sank 2.9% this week and is now up 16.9% in 2012. Decliners outnumbered advancers by close to a 2-to-1 ratio on the New York Stock Exchange and 1.5-to-1 on the Nasdaq. Volume totaled 3.14 billion on the Big Board and 1.52 billion on the Nasdaq. The weakest sectors in the broad market were financials, energy and basic materials. Transportation, consumer non-cyclicals, technology and capital goods closed higher. Shares of JPMorgan finished down 1.1% after the bank reported third-quarter results that blew past Wall Street estimates. The company reported third-quarter earnings of $5.7 billion, or $1.40 a share, beating the consensus estimate of $1.24, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Third-quarter revenue totaled $25.1 billion, beating the consensus estimate of $24.5 billion. However, during the quarter the bank saw a significant decline in credit quality, as nonperforming assets grew by 10%.
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