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Stocks Finish Mixed in Slow Session

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks ran in place Friday, lacking direction in the absence of any new economic news. Although earnings reports continued to beat expectations, investors saw little reason to act during the sluggish session.

The major indices locked in marginal weekly gains, marking the third consecutive week that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced. During Friday's session, the Dow lost 14 points, or 0.1%, to 11,133 but gained 0.6% on the week. The S&P 500 closed 3 points higher at 1183 and also saw a weekly increase of 0.6%. Meanwhile, strength across the tech sector helped the Nasdaq finish 20 points, or 0.8% higher at 2479 with a weekly gain of 0.4%.

Despite better-than-expected results from American Express (AXP) late Thursday, the stock remained the Dow's worst-performer throughout the session followed by Verizon and Home Depot (HD).

Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Cisco Sytems (CSCO) and Walt Disney (DIS) had the strongest gains of the day.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 major and emerging economies meet are meeting in South Korea on Friday and Saturday to debate currency valuations ahead of November's G-20 summit in Seoul. According to a Reuters report, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner saw little support for his proposal that countries limit account imbalances to 4% of gross domestic product. The measure was designed to compel China to strengthen its currency.

Overseas on Friday, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.6% while Japan's Nikkei added 0.5%. The FTSE in London inched 0.3% lower and the DAX in Frankfurt shed 0.08%.

Meanwhile, France's upper house of Parliament voted in favor of raising the retirement despite the rash of protests and strikes that erupted in response to the bill.

With no economic data scheduled for release on Friday, the market had little to trade off of outside of earnings news.

Earlier, Mike Shea, managing partner at Direct Access Partners said, "It's another one of those quiet Fridays." He noted that volume in the first hour of trading was down 26% from the previous session when trading volumes didn't pick up until later in the morning.

"I think something like 85% of all companies that have reported have met or exceeded expectations -- you'd have to think that a lot of that is already baked into the market," he said, adding that recent technical research suggests that the market is a little stretched. "This weekend, we have some global/macro issues and then it's Election Day with the Fed meeting the next day. That's really what the market is looking to, and it can't come here fast enough."

Traders

Honeywell (HON) said net income fell 18% to $499 million, or 64 cents a share, on revenue of $8.39 billion. But the company beat analysts' expectations for a profit of 62 cents on revenue of $8.22 billion. Shares gained 1.3% to $47.26.

Verizon (VZ) topped estimates by 2 cents with adjusted earnings of 56 cents a share on sales of $26.5 billion. The stock slipped 1.3% to $32.09.

Shares of Ingersoll-Rand (IR) rose 1% to $39.35 as the company reported adjusted earnings of 80 cents a share on revenue of $3.73 billion. Analysts had expected a third-quarter profit of 79 cents a share on sales of $3.73 billion.

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DOW 17,052.39 +73.26 0.43%
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