NEW YORK (
) -- Stocks finished higher Friday, despite Japan's devastating earthquake, led by strength in energy and industrial stocks.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 59 points, or 0.5%, at 12,044. The
gained 9 points, or 0.7%, at 1,304, and the
added 14 points, or 0.5%, at 2,715.
Stocks still finished the week lower, as volatile oil prices took its toll on investor sentiment. The Dow dropped 1% over the week, the S&P 500 shed 1.3% and the Nasdaq took the worst hit, sliding 2.4% over the week.
led the Dow higher on Friday.
were blue-chip laggards.
A devastating earthquake measuring a magnitude of 8.9 on the Richter scale rocked Japan on Friday afternoon, triggering a 13-foot tsunami. Police reported 200 to 300 deaths in the city of Sendai and more than 500 people have been reported missing, according to latest press reports. Aftershocks continue to be felt in Tokyo.
Tsunami alerts were issued early Friday across the Pacific, with Russia, Indonesia and Hawaii among the regions on high alert.
The White House has said that the threat of the tsunami on Hawaii and the rest of the west coast has passed.
The earthquake, one of the biggest in Japan's history, triggered across-the-board selling in Asian stocks in late Friday trading. The Nikkei dived 1.7%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index shed 1.5%. European markets also closed on a weak note, with Germany's DAX losing 1.1%, while the U.K's FTSE finished lower by 0.3%.
Stocks in the United States began on a tremulous note on investor worries about how the earthquake will impact the world's third largest economy. The uncertainty compounded market fears about the unrest in the Middle East. But calm returned to the market later in the session as investors reassessed the economic impact of the natural disaster.
Phil Orlando of Federated Investors said that while the earthquake had a devastating impact on lives and property, Japan's economy might prove more resilient, as the government invests in rebuilding. "There is an economic multiplier associated with infrastructure investment," said Orlando.
The Bank of Japan said Friday that it had set up a disaster management team and was willing to supply adequate liquidity to the money markets. "The Bank will continue to do its utmost, including the provision of liquidity, to ensure the stability in financial markets and to secure the smooth settlement of funds, in the coming week," it said in an emergency statement.
Most Japanese American Depositary Receipts, or ADRs, were trading lower on U.S. exchanges Friday in the earthquake's aftermath. Japanese automakers
fell more than 2% each. Elsewhere,
( PC) fell 1.8%,
Nippon Telegraph & Telephone
slid 0.8%, and
The April crude oil contract shed $1.54 to settle at $101.86. Crude oil prices dropped below $100 earlier in the morning for the first time in over a week, as Japan's refiners shut down processing. Japan consumes 4.42 million barrels of oil per day, according to data from the International Energy Agency. That makes it the third largest consumer of oil.
Stocks have been taking cues from the oil market in recent weeks as tensions in Libya have sent oil prices to its highest levels since 2008.
Investors have been worried about disruptions to oil supply, although the OPEC nations have said the supply situation is comfortable. Earlier, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its monthly report Friday that February output rose 110,000 barrels per day to 30.02 million barrels per day, the highest since December 2008. It also said it was ready to act as necessary to support market stability and that it could add as much as 6 million BPD per day.
President Obama also reiterated in a press conference that the United States was prepared to tap its strategic oil reserves if necessary.
Investors were also watching developments in Saudi Arabia, where pro-democracy protesters have called for a "day of rage" rally on Friday. So far, the situation in the country has been subdued, calming fears of oil traders.
There has been plenty of economic data for investors to digest as well.
The Census Bureau said February retail sales jumped 1%, the strongest in four months. The report also said January sales rose by 0.7%, higher than the 0.3% increase reported earlier.
The University of Michigan's initial reading of consumer sentiment came in at 68.2, much lower than 76.5 economists were expecting.
The Commerce Department said business inventories climbed 0.9% in January, a tenth higher than expectations. The report said inventories rose 1.1% in December, higher than the 0.8% estimated earlier.
"The Michigan Sentiment Index was probably the least important of the data we had today," said Federated Investors' Phil Orlando. "I would argue that it reflects the psychological impact of a spike in oil."
"Retail sales for February showed a nice healthy snap back from what was thought as a weather-related impact on January. Meanwhile January's number was revised up. So consumers are continuing to spend. Business inventory was stronger than expected, showing manufacturers are cranking up as well," said Orlando.
agreed to sell its Pembroke Refinery and other downstream assets in the U.K. and Ireland to
. Shares of Chevron rose 0.9% at $99.43. The stock of Valero rose 6.3% to $27.98.
The stock of
fell 6.4% to $23.05 after it said its fourth-quarter net income fell to $83.8 million, or 95 cents a share, from $96.6 million, or 99 cents a share, a year ago.
shares rose 12.7% to $27.29 after it reported better than expected fourth-quarter results. The company's earnings stood at $8 million, or 14 cents a share, compared with $41,000, or breakeven per share, a year ago. On an adjusted basis, it earned 19 cents a share. Analysts, on average, were expecting it to earn 17 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
99 Cents Only
( NDN) jumped 17.4% to $19.58.
68 after it received a buyout offer for $19.09 per share from private equity firm Leonard Green and the Schiffer-Gold family.
, Valero Energy,
were winners on the S&P 500.
Shares of Goodyear gained 6.5% to $14.96 on an upgrade to overweight by Morgan Stanley.
were the biggest losers on the S&P.
Elsewhere in commodity markets, the April gold contract rose $9.30 to settle at $1,421.80 an ounce.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down by 10/32, with the yield rising to 3.395%. The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies with the dollar index down by 0.5%. The dollar weakened 1.5% against the Japanese Yen as
Japanese investors overseas repatriated money into their home country.
--Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.