The EconomyEarlier, Albert Meyer, portfolio manager of the Mirzam Capital Appreciation fund, said that recent news out of Europe doesn't suggest that situation is nearly as bleak as markets may have indicated. "The best news coming out of Europe right now is that manufacturing and services are doing very well and reporting news that was better than expected," he said. "I also think it's pretty clear from earnings announcements up to now that manufacturing in the U.S. is also doing fine," he said, pointing to recent results from Caterpillar ( CAT), Illinois Tool Works ( ITW) and United Technologies ( UTX). "The U.S. economy is still expected to grow. There's very healthy growth in Asia and South America. Even in Europe, services hit a 35-month high, and manufacturing beat expectations," he said, adding, "growth is growth -- even if it's anemic -- and I think earnings will continue to confirm that. There are no economic releases scheduled for Friday's session.
Company NewsVerizon ( VZ), American Express ( AXP) and General Electric ( GE) were the Dow's best performers, while McDonald's ( MCD), Pfizer ( PFE) and Merck ( MRK) were its biggest laggards. Shares of
Commodities and the DollarCrude oil for September delivery shed 32 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $78.98 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodity markets, the August gold contract lost $7.80, or 0.7%, to settle at $1,187.80 an ounce. The dollar traded lower against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index down by 0.2%.