GO
Loading...

Stocks Rally at Close, Ending Volatile Week

Stocks closed higher Friday after a day of sharp price swings as bargain-hunting lifted
the beaten-down technology sector and oil companies advanced on higher crude prices.

Stocks see-sawed most of the day as the market was buffeted by worries over the housing slump and the credit crisis. But major indexes mounted a swift upturn in the last half
hour as investors bid up shares of technology companies such as BlackBerry maker Research In Motion computer and printer maker Hewlett-Packard .

For the week, the Dow ended up 1%, leaving it ahead 5.7% for the year so far. The Nasdaq added 0.4% for the week and is now up 9.2% for the year. The S&P 500 gained 0.3% and is up 2.9% for the year.

"We've gotten quite oversold for quite a while," said Manny Weintraub, managing director of Integre Advisors in New York. "It seems to me it's safe to bottom-fish."

Plans for an additional $10 billion share repurchase by network equipment maker Cisco Systems also buoyed sentiment in tech shares, helping the Nasdaq snap a two-day losing streak.

Investors also bought up shares of companies seen as better positioned to withstand an economic slowdown, including consumer products maker Procter & Gamble, helping to
underpin the broader market.

But shares of financial services companies, including Citigroup, fell on persistent worry that losses from mortgage defaults and the housing slump may worsen.

Among tech companies, shares of Research In Motion jumped 4.4 percent to $107.57 on the Nasdaq, where it ended as the session's biggest advancer, ahead of navigation devices maker Garmin .

Shares of Garmin rose 16.1 percent to $97.51 after it threw in the towel in its attempt to acquire digital map maker Tele Atlas, easing concerns of a costly bidding war. Merrill Lynch raised Garmin to "buy" from "sell."

Shares of iPod maker Apple finished up 1.3 percent at $166.39.

Cisco Systems shares jumped 2.2 percent to $29.94 after its board approved an additional $10 billion for buying back shares.

Shares of Procter & Gamble finished up 1.9 percent at $73.19 on the New York Stock Exchange. P&G was the S&P's second-biggest advancer, behind Hewlett-Packard, whose stock
finished up 3.8 percent at $50.75. HP was upgraded by Morgan Stanley.

Defensive stocks gained on the back of disappointing profit outlooks from package delivery company FedEx, an economic bellwether, and from Starbucks , the coffee chain operator, which blamed a slowdown in consumer spending for its reduced 2008 profit forecast.

Among energy company shares, Chevron Corp gained 2.2 percent to $85.98. Among financials, Citigroup, the No. 1 U.S. bank and a Dow component, fell 1.7 percent to
$34.

The S&P financial index notched its third straight day of losses, but was up for the week after a two-week losing streak.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, December crude settled up $1.67, or 1.8 percent, at $95.10 a barrel, after moving from $93.20 to $95.73.

Volume was below average on the New York Stock Exchange, with about 1.77 billion shares changing hands, below last year's estimated daily average of 1.84 billion. On Nasdaq,
about 2.52 billion shares traded, ahead of last year's daily average of 2.02 billion.

Even with the session's bounce, market breadth tilted to the downside, with declining stocks narrowly outnumbering advancing ones by a ratio of about 6 to 5 on both the NYSE and
the Nasdaq.