Updated from 3:31 p.m. EST
Stocks in New York wrapped up the week in mixed territory Friday, with earnings and the effects of the economic slowdown weighing on the
, but a buoyant tech sector pulling the
Commodities were on the rise: Oil prices reversed to gain $2.77 to settle at $46.47, and gold prices continued their ascent, gaining $35.30 to settle at $895.80. But equities were mixed.
Led by an 11% decrease in
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 31.62 points, or 0.4% at 8091. However, the
was up 0.2 points at 828, and the
was up 14.47 points, or 1%, at 1480, after a 2.8% decline a day prior.
The market has moved in rollercoaster fashion throughout the week, often following the lead of bellwether financials. Big banks
Bank of America
gained 8% and 10%, respectively, on Friday, but lost their power over the Dow.
"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.
Investors felt a brief pinch of relief Friday morning after
met expectations. However, the company still took a significant hit, with their net income dropping 44% from a year earlier, and the stock fell accordingly.
said after Thursday's close that quarterly profit fell for the first time, but it still surpassed analyst expectations, setting a positive tone for the sector. Shares were up 5.9% on Friday.
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.
The president said in a briefing that it is progressing, this time referencing a higher number of jobs created -- 3 million to 4 million -- than formerly discussed. Republican opposition has voiced concerns about the plan, but said Friday that it's prepared to act on the President's timetable.
That sentiment is helping to strengthen financials and is also instilling some optimism going into the weekend, says Michael James, managing director at Wedbush Morgan Securities. People aren't sure what to expect next week as far as potential news on the stimulus plan, expansion of the Troubled Asset Relief Fund, or new proposals, which would be positives for the economy and market, he says.
Confirmation of a recession on a global basis continued to come in, as
shrank 1.5% in the fourth quarter, marking its worst quarter of economic contraction since 1980. That outpaced the 0.6% decrease the quarter prior, according to data released Friday.
Financing has been hard to come by,
at least some M&A appears to be cracking the credit freeze. According to a report in the
Wall Street Journal
is in talks to acquire competing drugmaker
in a deal valued at more than $60 billion.
That news gave Wyeth shares a 7.9% bump. Nonetheless, lousy earnings and more layoffs continued to sour the mood elsewhere.
After missing fourth quarter profit expectations, iconic motorcycle manufacturer
, which missed fourth-quarter profit expectations, announced it will lay off 1,100 workers and close plants.
cutting more than 1,000 full-time jobs
in North America and the U.K. to deal with lagging demand, according to a report Friday.
Also, German memory-chip maker
declared bankruptcy Friday, a month after receiving a rescue package of millions of euros in loans.
Far from that fate, shares of biotech company
were alive and well, rising 40%, after the government granted it permission to inject eight to 10 paraplegic patients with cells derived from embryonic stem cells.
Stocks have spent the week on a rollercoaster, which continued Thursday with the indices ultimately realizing 1%-3% losses after a
miss, other tech earnings, the ousting of John Thain, and more-of-the-same economic data.
Technology earnings continued into Friday, with South Korean electronics maker Samsung Electronics posting its first-ever quarterly loss.
Elsewhere, three analysts lowered their price targets for
Capital One Financial Corp.
, a day after the company reported a quarterly loss where Wall Street expected a profit. S&P also cut its credit outlook for Capital One to negative with a further downgrade likely. Shares fell 13% on Friday.
was also down, giving up 8% recently, on plunging fourth quarter profit and a first-quarter forecast below Wall Street's view.
Overseas, the FTSE in London flirted with the flatline, while the DAX in Frankfurt moved lower. Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended with losses.
Longer-dated Treasuries were on the decline Friday; the 10-year note was recently down 20/32 to yield 2.7%, the 30-year was off by 1 25/32, yielding 3.3%.
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said Thursday that oil
inventories in the U.S. soared by 6.1 million barrels last week, well above the expected boost, highlighting a continuing drop in demand. Nonetheless oil prices were up 11% since midweek.
The dollar was recently stronger against the euro and the pound and weaker against the yen.
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