Updated from 2:36 p.m. EDT
Technology shares were strong Friday, but new trouble for
undercut what had been a modest blue-chip rally sparked by decent economic data.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 21.41 points, or 0.2%, to 11,370.69, and the
added 5.22 points, or 0.4%, to 1257.76. The
was better by 30.42 points, or 1.3%, at 2310.53.
Earlier, the major averages had been in even better shape, but then word came down from Standard & Poor's that it might lower its ratings on Fannie and Freddie's subordinated debt and preferred stock. Following that development, shares of both government-sponsored mortgage buyers fell, Freddie by 6% and Fannie by 4%.
The market got an initial boost on a report from the government that durable goods orders unexpectedly increased last month, whereas many economists were looking for a slight decline.
New-home sales were also better than predicted, running at a 530,000 annualized pace in June, about 27,000 more than analysts foresaw. That was down from May, but those figures were upwardly revised to a rate of 533,000.
The two somewhat uplifting reports gave investors a chance to look past a separate, dour reading on troubled homes. Numbers from RealtyTrac revealed that second-quarter foreclosure filings around the nation were more than twice what they were in the same period a year earlier and up 14% from the first quarter.
Still, by finishing in the green U.S. stocks at least erased a bit of the pain inflicted during the prior session. The market was crushed on Thursday after weak data on existing-home sales and a drop in financials, including
On the corporate side,
said its first-quarter profit was up 8% from the same period a year ago as its small cars sold well owing to consumers looking for fuel-friendly options.
Mutual fund company
swung to a quarterly loss of $31 million in its most recent quarter, compared with a profit of nearly $200 million in the comparable 2007 period.
was one of the day's winners, rising 4% after boosting its earnings outlook for the full year and topping estimates for the second quarter.
Black & Decker
also exceeded analysts' targets.
Late in the session,
announced that it would consolidate its operations from six major business segments into four, GE Technology Infrastructure, GE Energy Infrastructure, GE Capital and NBC Universal. Shares of GE were unchanged.
Among commodities, crude oil continued losing ground, this time falling $2.23 to $123.26 a barrel. Brent was off $1.92. The
United States Oil
, an ETF that tracks crude futures, lost 2.2%.
Treasury securities were lower in price. The 10-year was down 25/32, yielding 4.10%, and the 30-year was falling 1-9/32 to yield 4.69%. The dollar was mixed, rising against the yen, but slipping vs. the pound and the euro.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.