Another week of heavy selling ended on a bright note Friday, as stocks rallied convincingly after a consumer price report that wasn't as bad as feared. The data didn't really soothe the palpable uneasiness that has overtaken Wall Street regarding inflation, a hawkish central bank and stretched consumers. In fact, bond prices fell, and their yields rose Friday, as the headline consumer price index rose at the fastest pace seen since September 1980. But the market's ability to react positively to the CPI report suggests that enough excess pessimism may have been priced into stocks in the sharp drops since Sept. 30 to create a tradable bottom (at least). One theme this week -- albeit a negative one for major markets -- was the ability of stocks to avoid big losses despite negative news such as disappointing sales from Apple Computer ( AAPL) or the scandal surrounding Refco ( RFX). A tradeable bounce is the forecast, anyway, of several insightful market watchers, including investment guru Woody Dorsey, the founder of Market Semiotics, as mentioned
here Wednesday. On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 70.75 points, or 0.69% at 10,287.34, just shy of its intraday high at 10,291. The blue-chip average was lifted among others by General Electrics ( GE), which posted solid earnings before the market opened. General Motors ( GM) also gained after reports that it may unilaterally cut employee benefits. The S&P 500 finished up 9.73 points, or 0.8% at 1186.57, just under an earlier high of 1187. Most impressively, the Nasdaq Composite rose 17.61 points, or 0.9% at 2064.83, fractionally below its intraday high of 2064.95. Breadth clearly turned positive, with advancing issues beating declining ones 2 to 1 on both the New York Stock Exchange, where 1.4 billion shares traded, and on the Nasdaq, where 1.3 billion shares exchanged hands.