The Dow struggled but eked out a gain as trading volume hit a new record Friday. Techs rallied after strong earnings reports from Oracle and Research In Motion.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq advanced 1.5 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 gained 0.2 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
After the Dow hit a 14-month high on Monday, it was a steady descent from there — the Dow lost 1.3 percent for the week. The S&P shed 0.4 percent, while the Nasdaq gained 1 percent.
On this final "quadruple witching" day of 2009, with the simultaneous expirations of various options and futures contracts, the CBOE volatility index rose to nearly 22.
The combination of the "quadruple witching" and the shifting of companies in and out of the major indexes delivered not just the busiest trading day of the year, as many traders were predicting, but the busiest day ever for the New York Stock Exchange: 3.16 billion shares changed hands today, beating the prior record of 3 billion set in September 2008. Advancers outpaced decliners, roughly 3 to 2.
Earnings provided a positive spark: After the bell Thursday, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and Oracle both beat consensus estimates, as did Nike.
RIMM shares jumped more than 10 percent, while Oracle gained over 6 percent and Nike added nearly 2 percent.
But Palm shares tumbled more than 10 percent after the smartphone maker posted a loss that was worse than expectations as it faces increasing competition in the crowded field.
On the Dow, the bluechip index's modest gains were powered by Microsoft and Intel and Hewlett-Packard.
Techs were also hot on the S&P, with Oracle and Motorola near the top of the leader board.
Motorola shares gained over 5 percent as the company's proposed sale of its "home and networks mobility" unit has received several bids from private-equity firms.
Oil topped $74 a barrelafter an Iraqi official said Iranian troops briefly entered an Iraqi oilfield on Thursday and on the prospect of increased winter demand. Gold settled at $1,111.50 an ounce.