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US stocks finish week with mixed results; only Nasdaq up on the year

U.S. stocks mostly fell on Friday, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to post its first weekly gain of the year, as Wall Street gauged a reduced outlook from United Parcel Service and earnings from corporations including General Electric and Morgan Stanley.

"We're at the intersection of full valuations in the equity market, and the likelihood that we may run out of positive economic surprises; it doesn't mean the news can't be good, but maybe not surprisingly good," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.

General Electric posted a rise in quarterly net profit, with its shares falling in the wake of its results. Morgan Stanley beat Wall Street's expectations.

United Parcel Service estimated quarterly profit beneath analysts' expectations, partly due to a shorter U.S. holiday season. The delivery company said it expects to report a profit of $1.25 per share for the fourth quarter, versus estimates of earnings of $1.43 a share. Its share fell 0.6 percent. FedEx shares were down 0.9 percent.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
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DJIA
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S&P 500
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NASDAQ
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 41.55 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,458.56, up 01 percent for the week and down 0.7 percent for the year. American Express was among the nine blue chips that rose. The credit card company posted quarterly profit that more than doubled, bolstered by increased consumer spending during the holidays. Intel fell the hardest on the Dow, a day after the chip manufacturer missed expectations by a penny in the fourth quarter and offered a lukewarm forecast for first-quarter revenue.

The S&P 500 fell 7.19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,838.70, down 0.2 percent for the week and 0.5 percent for 2014. Consumer staples led declines that included all 10 of its major sectors.

The Nasdaq declined 21.11 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,197.58, up 0.6 percent for the week and 0.5 percent for the year.

For every two shares that rose, roughly three declined on the New York Stock Exchange, where 893 million shares traded. Composite volume topped 3.6 billion.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude-oil futuresfor March rose 41 cents to $94.37 a barrel. Thegold contract for February delivery added $11.70 to $1,251.90 an ounce, up 0.3 percent for the week.

The dollargained against other global currencies and the 10-year Treasury yield dropped by 2 basis points to 2.823 percent.

Figures from the Labor Department on Friday had U.S. job openings rising to a more-than five-year high in November, with the count of positions not yet filled expanding by 70,000 to 4 million.

"Slowly but surely, the economy is moving back towards a 'normalized' state in which job openings are increasing while the unemployment rate is decreasing," Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG noted in emailed research. "Janet Yellen is surely paying attention," Greenhaus added of the incoming chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Other economic releases on Friday included The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's initial read of U.S. consumer confidence, which declined to 80.4 in January versus expectations it would rise to 84.

And, the Commerce Department reported U.S. housing starts fell 9.8 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 999,000-unit pace. Economists expected the number to fall to 990,000.

A fourth piece of data Friday had U.S.industrial production increasing by 0.3 percent in December.

On Thursday, stocks finished mostly lower, with the S&P 500 sliding from its record, as investors measured results from Goldman Sachs Group and others.

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