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Dow Has Strongest Two Weeks Since 2000

The latest batch of earnings took a toll on the market Friday but the Dow still pulled off a gain in the final half hour of trading, capping its best two-week performance since 2000.

The Dow Jones Industrial Averagerose 24 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 9,093.24. At one point, the Dow touched as high as 9,099.74, just shy of 9,100.

This was a landmark week for the Dow: It crossed 9,000 for the first time since January and gained 12 percent in a two-week run, a feat it hasn't achieved since 2000.

The S&P 500added 0.3 percent today, while theNasdaq shed 0.4 percent, snapping its 12-day winning streak and longest run since 1992.

Still, gains in the Dow and S&P and minimal damage to the Nasdaq today showed the market's resiliencyand ability to rotate into new leadership — healthcare and energy.

Merck was the biggest gainer on the Dow, up 2.5 percent, followed by Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer .

Chevron and ExxonMobil were also among the Dow gainers. Both companies are reporting earnings next week, along with ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell.

Energy-exploration company Schlumberger reported earnings of 68 cents a share that, though representing a 57 percent annualized drop, beat expectations.

Tech was one of the weakest sectors today — and for the week — after disappointing results from Microsoft and Amazon.

Microsoft shares tumbled 8.3 percent after the software giant reported a sharp drop in revenue.

Amazon also beat but other aspects of its quarterly report disappointed investors. Its stock shed 7.9 percent.

Microsoft was the biggest decliner on both the Dow and the Nasdaq. Amazon was the Nasdaq's second worst performer.

"Microsoft's and Amazon's results make me a little more bearish on the rest of the earnings season," Christopher Zook, chairman and investment chief of CAZ Investments, told Reuters.

"After Intel beat expectations, companies have felt a lot of pressure to post good results or take a positive tone in their earnings call. Microsoft isn't doing that and it's getting killed," Zook said.

Dow component American Express beat earnings forecasts but revenue missed estimates. Shares gained 0.2 percent.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Senate lawmakers Friday that he's willing to work with them on overhauling financial regulations but insisted that major changes are necessary.

Speaking at the Senate's risk-regulation hearing, Geithner said the financial system "failed in its most basic responsibility" to supply credit and protect consumers and that cannot happen again.

In economic news, the Reuters/University of Michigan gauge of consumer sentiment dropped to 66in a final July reading from 64.6 in a mid-July reading and 70.8 at the end of June. Economists had expected the reading to tick up to 65. Measures of expectations for the future and current conditions also declined.

CIT Group was still on its rollercoaster ride, with shares ending up 1.4 percent, after soaring nearly 20 percent earlier, after the lender amended a debt restructuring to lure more creditors and intends to keep its restructuring out of the courts. The stock had skidded more than 15 percent on Thursday following buzz that CIT may wind up in bankruptcy protection if it can't attract enough creditors.

Black and Decker shares jumped more than 10 percent after the tool maker raised its outlook.

For the week, ten out of ten key S&P sectors were higher, led by materials, which jumped 8 percent. Energy and utilities rounded out the top three as oil gained more than 5% to settle at $68.05 a barrel. Consumer staples were the worst performer, along with financials and technology.

Caterpillar had the most positive impact on the Dow, up nearly 24 percent. McDonald's had the most negative impact, down over 3 percent.

All three major indexes are now positive for the year, led by the Nasdaq, up nearly 25 percent.

On Tap for Next Week:

MONDAY: New-home sales; Earnings from Verizon and Honeywell
TUESDAY: Case-Shiller home-price index; consumer confidence; Earnings from US Steel, Viacom, Dreamworks and STMicro
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications; durable goods; weekly crude inventories; Fed's beige book; Earnings from ConocoPhillips, Sprint Nextel, Time Warner, WellPoint Health, Visa
THURSDAY: Weekly jobless claims; Earnings from AstraZeneca, ExxonMobil, Colgate-Palmolive, Eastman Kodak, Kellogg, MasterCard, Motorola, Disney, MetLife
FRIDAY: GDP; Chicago PMI; Earnings from Chevron

Send comments to cindy.perman@nbcuni.com.

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