Updated from 4:41 p.m. EST
Commodities made headway, but stocks in New York wrapped up Friday in mixed territory, with earnings and the effects of the economic slowdown weighing on the Dow, but a buoyant tech sector pulling the Nasdaq higher.
Led by an 11% decrease in General Electric (GE), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 45.24 points, or 0.6% at 8077.56. However, the S&P 500 was up 0.18 points, or .002% at 827.68, and the Nasdaq was up 11.80 points, or 0.81%, at 1477.29.
For the week, however, the Dow lost 206.66, or 2.5%; the S&P gave up 22.44, or 2.6%; and Nasdaq retreated 52.04, or 3.4%.The market has moved in rollercoaster fashion throughout the holiday-shortened week, often following the lead of bellwether financials. Big names Citi (C) and Bank of America (BAC) gained 9.3% and 11.6%, respectively, on Friday, but couldn't pull the Dow into positive territory. "The market has really become susceptible to traders' whims as opposed to investors' actions," says Michael James, managing director Wedbush Morgan Securities. "As traders have become more active in exchange-traded funds, their more aggressive actions have had a snowballing effect on the market direction, exacerbating the magnitude of the moves in both directions." Traditional institutions are less involved in the market, which is creating less liquid markets and more dramatic swings, he says. President Obama and top members of the House and Senate met Friday to work toward common ground on the president's economic stimulus plan, which is intended to help lift the U.S. economy out of an increasingly severe recession.
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