(At 4:25 p.m. EDT) After spending nearly the entire session in the red, the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to eke out a gain at the end of the day, finishing higher by 23.95 points at 9093.24. There really isn't any other way to say this: The Dow had a truly remarkable week. The blue-chip average piled on 350 points and now sits at its highest close since Nov. 5. The most impressive feat, though, may be the fact that the Dow ended a strong week where it did, especially considering an 8.3% drop in shares of Microsoft ( MSFT). However, Microsoft was only one of 12 decliners. On the other hand, Alcoa ( AA), Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), Merck ( MRK) and Pfizer ( PFE) all finished higher by 2% or greater. Even American Express ( AXP), which had been lower by nearly 5% earlier in the day, finished Friday's session with a 0.2% advance.
And with that, a busy week for Dow earnings comes to a close. While next week looks to be the busiest of the entire second-quarter earnings season, only five Dow members will be out with quarterly results. Disney ( DIS), Exxon Mobil ( XOM), Chevron ( CVX), Travelers Companies ( TRV)and Verizon ( VZ) are due to report over the next five sessions. (At 10:38 a.m. EDT) The Dow Jones Industrial Average is giving back some of its 3.7% gain for the week at the start of trading Friday, although a loss of 36 points isn't much considering the recent run the index has seen. World markets were able to brush off disappointing results from Dow components Microsoft ( MSFT) and American Express ( AXP) -- the Nikkei jumped 1.6% overnight and most European markets were in the black. The U.S. indices, though, are having a much harder time shrugging off the news. After Thursday's session, one that saw a strong rally push the Dow to its highest close since November, Microsoft reported second-quarter earnings of 34 cents a share, down from the year-ago quarter and 2 cents below the profit analysts forecasted. Additionally, the tech giant posted $1.2 billion sales shortfall for the quarter. Shares opened Friday's session 10% lower at $23, making it the biggest drag on the Dow. Also after Thursday's close, AmEx said that excluding the Troubled Asset relief Program repayment, second-quarter earnings would have totaled 27 cents a share, beating consensus estimates by a penny. However, the company said net loans charged off in its U.S. card member business totaled 10% in the latest quarter, up from 8.5% in the first quarter and 5.3% a year ago. Even though AmEx said it now expects charge-off rates in the unit to be below 10% for the second half of the year, which is lower than that outlook offered earlier in the year, shares were falling 2.1% to $28.83 in early trading.