Like teenage girls fawning over Elvis, the stock market swooned over the
this week. But hopes the central bank will stop raising its fed funds rate next month quietly exited the building by Friday, leaving most market participants where they started the week -- anxious -- despite gains for major averages.
After starting the week concerned about inflation, stock investors latched onto dovish words from Fed speakers and the March FOMC meeting minutes
, inciting a rally that carried major averages to weekly gains despite mixed follow-through.
Record oil prices and U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman crashed the party when the price of crude topped $75 per barrel Friday and Bodman warned of possible gasoline supply problems. Maybe that qualifies as one of the "surprises" San Francisco Fed President Janet Yellen was talking about Wednesday after commenting that rate hikes are over and inflation contained -- minus any data to suggest otherwise, of course.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
did rise modestly Friday to 11,347.45, another six-year high, but the
dipped 0.01% to finish 1311.28 and the
fell 19.69 points, or 0.83%, to 2342.86 as
(GOOG - Get Report)
For the week, the Dow gained 1.9%, while the S&P rose 1.7%, and the Nasdaq climbed 0.7%, lagging its blue-chip counterparts amid disappointment over results and/or guidance from big-caps such as
(INTC - Get Report)
(EBAY - Get Report)
, as well as prior highfliers
(FFIV - Get Report)
Meanwhile, the dollar sunk, commodities prices soared and the yield on the benchmark 10-year rose above 5%.
"The reaction [to the Fed minutes] was very emotional, and it is still undecided whether 5% is the end," said Barry Hyman, equity market strategist at Ehrenkrantz King Nussbaum, adding that the new fear is that perhaps $70 per barrel is the bottom end of a new range. "We look at gold and commodities. These are inflation indicators."