NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The major U.S. equity averages closed out a dismal week with a mixed finish on Friday as results from a pair of big banks added to investor anxiety about earnings season.

Spain was also a lingering issue for the market as questions continued to swirl about if and when the country may request bailout funds. A jump in consumer sentiment drove early gains but the market had little staying power and gold was a big loser.

Both JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Wells Fargo ( WFC) were unable to get any traction from their generally strong numbers. JPMorgan handily beat Wall Street's profit view but net interest margins dipped, while Wells Fargo edged the consensus earnings estimate by a penny but fell short on the top line.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added more than 2 points, or 0.02%, to settle at 13,329. The blue-chip index ranged roughly 105 points on the day, running as high as 13,401 and as low as 13,296. For the week, the Dow fell 2.1% but it remains up 9.1% so far in 2012.

Losers were ahead of winners within the Dow, 18 to 11 with Pfizer ( PFE) finishing flat.

Boeing ( BA), Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), IBM ( IBM), and Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT) were among the biggest Dow gainers.

Shares of Wal-Mart rose 1.1% after Jefferies lifted its rating on the stock to buy from hold and boosted its price target to $88 from $74, citing stronger revenue momentum.

The biggest blue-chip decliners were AT&T ( T), Bank of America ( BAC), JPMorgan, and Verizon ( VZ).

The S&P 500 lost more than 4 points, or 0.30%, to finish at 1428.59, while the Nasdaq was off more than 5 points, or 0.17%, to settle at 3044.

The S&P 500, which has fallen in five of last six sessions, slid 2.2% for the week and is now up 13.6% for the year. The Nasdaq, whose losing streak is up to six days, sank 2.9% this week and is now up 16.9% in 2012.

Decliners outnumbered advancers by close to a 2-to-1 ratio on the New York Stock Exchange and 1.5-to-1 on the Nasdaq. Volume totaled 3.14 billion on the Big Board and 1.52 billion on the Nasdaq.

The weakest sectors in the broad market were financials, energy and basic materials. Transportation, consumer non-cyclicals, technology and capital goods closed higher.

Shares of JPMorgan finished down 1.1% after the bank reported third-quarter results that blew past Wall Street estimates.

The company reported third-quarter earnings of $5.7 billion, or $1.40 a share, beating the consensus estimate of $1.24, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Third-quarter revenue totaled $25.1 billion, beating the consensus estimate of $24.5 billion.

However, during the quarter the bank saw a significant decline in credit quality, as nonperforming assets grew by 10%.

"The big global banks -- the JPMorgans, the Goldmans, they're all in that camp where they look dirt cheap, like they're easy doubles, but they've got still a lot of unknown exposure on their balance sheets. Exposure to Europe, exposure to a lot of things," said James Kee, president and chief economist of San Antonio's South Texas Money Management.

"The larger banks have run up a lot and so valuations are not as attractive as they were say a year or two years ago," said Leo Kelly, managing director at Hightower. "However, when we look at these larger banks, as spreads contract, as you get a better housing picture -- that's favorable to banks overall because if we get a better credit picture in the U.S. and if housing prices start to recover, then estimates for foreclosures and write-downs for foreclosures and bad credit go down. When those go down, these companies can release reserves. And that goes right down to the bottom line."

"The minus is that there are significant revenue streams that they no longer have. Regulation has increased dramatically here in the U.S.," said Kelly. "I don't think anyone really has their hands around what that means yet."

Wells Fargo, facing a lawsuit for its mortgage practices related to the financial crisis, posted third-quarter adjusted earnings of 88 cents a share, beating estimates by a penny. Revenue came in at $21.2 billion, below the consensus call for $21.47 billion. The stock lost 2.6%.

"All of these companies are much stronger than they were prior to the crash," said Kee. "The key to some of the bigger the banks is what their economic profile is going forward. I mean in the last 20 years financials basically was a group that had very high return on equity. But with the financial regulation going forward, a lot of their ability to generate revenue is going to be changed and altered because some of the products that they sell are going to be more regulated. So we do think that the profiles going forward are going to be different. The question is, how different?"

The early returns on third-quarter earnings season have been discouraging despite Wall Street's low expectations. According to Thomson Reuters, the blended estimate for the S&P 500, which includes reported results and analyst views, is now for a year-over-year decline in profits of 3%. The firm noted that there have been 94 negative pre-announcements by S&P 500 vs. only 23 positives ones.

"By dividing 94 by 23, one arrives at an N/P negative to positive ratio of 4.1 for the S&P 500 Index," Thomson said. "This 4.1 ratio is the weakest showing since Q3 2001." Thirty-two S&P 500 companies have reported so far with 56% beating earnings expectations and 50% topping revenue views. Both those percentages are below long-term averages of 62% on both counts.

There was a positive in the economic data as the University of Michigan consumer sentiment report for October jumped to a five-year high of 83.1 from 78.3 in September and beat the consensus estimate of 78 on an improving outlook on the economy.

The survey's five-to-10-year inflation expectation slid to 2.6% from 2.8%, which the Fed officials who pushed for QE3 are likely to be "thrilled" about, noted John Ryding and Conrad DeQuadros, the founders of research firm RDQ Economics.

In other data, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the producer price index rose 1.1% in September after advancing 1.7% in August. Economists were expecting the index to rise 0.7%.

The core read, which excludes food and energy costs, was unchanged after rising 0.2%. Economists were anticipating an uptick of 0.2%.

The FTSE 100 in London was down 0.30% and the DAX in Germany was falling 0.30% as uncertainty over Spain's bailout plans overshadowed better-than-expected August eurozone industrial output figures.

The Nikkei Average in Tokyo closed down 0.15% Friday and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong finished up 0.65% ahead of Chinese trade data set to be published this weekend.

November crude oil futures settled down 21 cents at $91.86 a barrel while December gold futures lost $10.90 to settle at $1,759.70 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury rose 5/32, pushing the yield down to 1.660%. The greenback fell 0.16%, according to the dollar index.

In corporate news, Ecolab ( ECL), the developer and marketer of products and services for the hospitality, foodservice, health care and industrial markets said it has agreed to buy privately held energy products and services company Champion Technologies for $2.2 billion in cash and stock. The stock rose 4%.

STMicroelectronics ( STM ) is reportedly exploring the possibility of breaking itself up. STMicroelectronics' ADRs gained 6.4%.

Shares of Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD) plunged 14.4% after the no. 2 chip maker forecast third-quarter revenue of $1.27 billion, a 10% sequential decline. Previously, AMD had predicted a sequential decrease of 1%, plus or minus 3%. Analysts were looking for sales of $1.38 billion.

Travelzoo ( TZOO) shares fell nearly 15% after the Internet media company said that its third-quarter results may fall substantially and that it's in talks to buy a hotel-booking website.

Pharmacy benefits manager CVS Caremark ( CVS) is being probed by the U.S. Department of Health on suspicions of Medicare fraud, according to the L.A. Times. Shares slipped 1.1%.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services ( JBHT) shares surged 6.5% after the company booked stronger than expected third-quarter revenue.


--Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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