GO
Loading...

Stocks Wobble as Financials Struggle

CNBC.com
Friday, 20 Mar 2009 | 12:17 PM ET

Stocks turn mixed Friday after a strong two-week run as financial stocks continued to struggle and weakness seeped into other sectors.

Today's yo-yo trading comes after a decline Thursday that shaved 1 percent off the Dow and S&Pand half a percent off the Nasdaq.

Still, the market has had a good run in the past few weeks and Wall Street could close with its first string of consecutive positive weeks in nearly a year.

Merck and Johnson & Johnson were the biggest percentage gainers on the Dow. Some pharmas rebounded today after taking a pounding recently.

Palm shares rose even after the handset maker said its upcoming Pre phone needs "more polishing."

And Sony Ericsson warned that it would sell barely half the handsets it did in the last quarter.

Financials shares were mostly lower, including Bank of Amreica and JPMorgan .

But Citigroup shares gained as the company announced two senior management changes in its continuing effort to restructure. Gary Crittenden, previously chief financial officer, has been named to the newly created role of chairman of Citi Holdings, and Edward “Ned” Kelly, previously the head of global banking, will become chief financial officer.

European stocks were broadly down, with Paris the worst performer. Asian markets finished mixed. Both Tokyo and Hong Kong closed in the red, while Singapore ended higher.

In the oil market, crude prices rebounded, heading towards $52 a barrel following Thursday's sharp gain.

Looking to the global economy, leading up to the Group of 20 meeting in Brussels, the European Union will propose doubling the International Monetary Fund's arsenal for fighting economic slowdown to $500 billion, according to a draft of the proposal.

But the EU itself is trying to keep a lid on stimulus spending, while the US added $5 billion in funds to help auto parts makers.

Also in Washington, the government continued to grapple with populist outrage over bonuses paid out at American International Group . A House panel will consider legislation to prevent bonus payouts to any companies receiving money under the TARP program.

There are no major economic indicators scheduled for today.

  Price   Change %Change
AFF
---
BAC
---
C
---
JNJ
---
JPM MLP ETN
---
MRK
---
NDAQ
---