There was plenty to worry about this week, and a variety of issues, fundamental and technical, kept a lid on shares.

For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6% and the S&P 500 gained less than 0.1%. But the Nasdaq Composite fell fractionally as Friday's losses wiped out its weekly advance.

Looking at the bulk of corporate news this week as well as the economic data, along with the escalation of violence in the Middle East, it's hard not to reach a bearish conclusion. However, stocks were largely able to shake off myriad negatives amid notably moderate trading volumes.

On Friday, for example, just 1.2 billion shares traded on the NYSE and 1.8 billion in over-the-counter activity. Volume was down from recent levels throughout the week, with the Big Board consistently under 1.5 billion shares and Nasdaq never exceeding 2 billion, as it had several times the previous week.

Optimists will take solace that volume was down as the market hesitated, as it indicates few traders are rushing for the exits. Furthermore, the market's overall resilience to negative news and traders' repeated proclivity to buy intraday dips are characteristics of bull market activity. Notably, major averages were often strongest late in trading days, when the so-called smart money is believed to be most active.

In retrospect, however, perhaps last Friday's nearly 3 billion-share over-the-counter session represented the peak of momentum, at least near term. Although the Dow exceed its June 6 high of 9215.88 intraday Thursday, it failed to sustain itself above 9200, and neither the S&P or Comp exceeded their respective June 6 intraday highs of 1007.63 and 1684.06 this week.

Notably, the Amex Biotech Index fell 2.8% this week, while the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index lost 7% and TheStreet.com Internet Index shed 2.8%. Among recent standouts, only the homebuilders sustained the recent momentum, with the S&P Homebuilding Index up another 5.7% this week.

If you liked this article you might like

'08 Rout Accelerates

'08 Rout Accelerates

Ennui Smothers Rally Effort

Ennui Smothers Rally Effort

Stocks Flop in '08 Debut

Stocks Flop in '08 Debut

Laggards Lead as Stocks Sulk Into '08

Laggards Lead as Stocks Sulk Into '08

Stocks Dither as Traders Eye Bargains

Stocks Dither as Traders Eye Bargains