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Stocks ended higher at the end of a quiet week of trading, as investors were encouraged by further moves by the Federal Reserve and a vote of confidence for the nation's largest mortgage lender. The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a weekly gain of 1.8%, the S&P 500 rose 1.7% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 2.1%.
Shares of Home Depot were up 1.3 percent Friday as investors waited for word about whether a sale was on or off for the home improvement retailer's contractor business.
Stocks futures are meandering on both sides of the unchanged mark after stronger-than-expected durable goods orders and investors now await new home sales data due at 10 am New York time.
U.S. stocks bounced off earlier lows but closed with small losses amid ongoing worries regarding the global credit environment. "The conventional logic was that the worst was behind us but then reality set in and there's still trouble out there," said Dan McMahon, head of listed trading at CIBC World Markets.
A private equity-led buyout of home-improvement retailer Home Depot's wholesale supply division, due to close on Thursday, could be in trouble because investment banks involved are reluctant to fund the transaction even at a lower price, the Financial Times reported in its online edition, citing people familiar with the negotiations.
Retailer Lowe's reported a better-than-expected 9% rise in second-quarter profit Monday, aided by new store openings and market share gains, boosting its shares by 4% in pre-market trading.
Home Depot said Wednesday that it and the private equity firms that have agreed to buy its Home Depot Supply unit have delayed the proposed closing date of the deal to Aug. 23 from Aug. 16.
Credit worries cling to the stock market like fleas to a dog. One of today's headaches came from the Canadian asset-backed commercial paper market which traders here are eyeing nervously. Meanwhile, U.S. brokerage stocks and banks have been pulled into a spiral of selling, amid rumors that any one of the firms is facing credit issues. "They're all getting beaten with the ugly stick today," said Fast Money's Jeff Macke on Power Lunch today.
More credit problems surfaced in the financial sector on Tuesday, battering stocks and fueling worries that things will get worse before they get better. "The market is still jittery," said Stephen Porpora, managing floor broker with William O'Neil. "Everybody's looking for the next shoe to drop in this subprime problem."
Stocks closed sharply lower, with the Dow dropping more than 200 points, amid continuing anxiety about the credit markets and a weak earnings outlook from Wal-Mart. "I still feel the market is headed for a lower low," said Byron Wien, chief market strategist at Pequot Capital Management.
Home improvement retailer Home Depot said reported a 15 percent fall in second-period profit Tuesday as sales fell short of expectations amid the softer U.S. housing market.
CNBC's Bob Pisani reports on what traders are telling him before the market opens: The European Central Bank for a fourth day needed to add extra cash into the overnight lending market. But the action is working. Overseas markets are largely calm.
One week after Cerberus Capital announced former Home Depot spacerCEO Bob Nardelli will take over Chrysler, the reality of the job he faces in fixing the automaker is clear. It is gonna take a while.
While most long-term investors should stay on the sidelines during the current market turmoil, analysts say there are opportunities to find some bargains amid the carnage."Fear creates opportunity," Michael Embler, chief investment officer at Franklin Templeton Investments, told CNBC.com. "If you are a long-term investor, you should be turning off your screen. But if you want to buy stock, this is an opportunity."
U.S. Stocks ended sharply lower on renewed fears about credit markets and global liquidity. "The message of the markets today is that the credit problem is significantly more than what was being forecast or expected by private sector economists and the Federal Reserve," said Hugh Johnson of Johnson Illington Advisors. "This sharp decline is very scary."
Retailer Home Depot said Thursday that it was in discussions to restructure terms of its previously announced deal to sell its supply unit, and also said it was lowering the price range for a tender offer under which it is buying back stock.
Stocks rallied as investors snapped up shares in the beaten-down financial sector despite uneasiness surrounding the health of credit markets and the U.S. economy. "We got a big sigh-of-relief rally," said Arthur Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS.
"Massive short squeeze run?" JP Morgan's Charles Grom raises the question of whether we'll see a short squeeze run of retail shares when same store sales are released this Thursday much like we saw last month. If you remember, June's same store sales were not strong by any means rather they were more or less on plan for what is traditionally a weak summer sales season (buyers are on the beach not the in the malls.)
U.S. stocks futures are slightly firmer ahead of the opening in a market still cranky about credit worries and pondering the Fed's next move. European stock markets are mixed after trading lower this morning, and Asian stocks were lower overnight.
Cerberus Capital Management named former Home Depot Chief Executive Robert Nardelli as chairman and chief executive of Chrysler in an executive shake-up just after the private equity firm completed a deal to acquire the struggling No. 3 U.S. automaker.