Stocks finished mixed for the week amid thin, choppy trading, but the Dow and S&P snapped a six-week losing streak, boosted by news a bailout for Greece may be near. However, gains were limited as investors were worried over the continuing economic weakness.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 42.84 points, or 0.36 percent, to finish at 12,004.36, snapping its six-week losing streak and ending above the psychologically-important 12,000-mark.
Among the blue-chip index, Home Depot was the biggest gainer, while Alcoa sagged.
The S&P 500 gained 3.86 points, or 0.30 percent, to close at 1,271.50, while the Nasdaq slipped 7.22 points, or 0.28 percent, to end at 2,616.48. The Nasdaq is down for the fifth straight week.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, slipped to settle at 21.72 after surging to its highest level since mid-March during the previous session.
For the week, the Dow gained 52.45, the S&P eked out a gain of 0.52 points, while the Nasdaq shed 27.25 points.
Industrials and consumer staples were the biggest gainers among the key S&P sectors, while energy and materials lagged.
“The market has reached a little too far in the bearish way, but at the same time, it’s too early to say this correction is over," said Howard Ward, portfolio manager of the GAMCO Growth Fund. "I don’t think 7 percent [market decline] is enough to blow the all-clear whistle.”
“This is a tough time to trade,” said Randy Frederick, Director of Trading and Derivatives at Charles Schwab. “The summer months are going to be tough—I expect choppy, but tight ranges.”
However, Frederick remains optimistic about the year overall.
“In the third and fourth quarters, we’ll see a rebound,” he said. “When QE2 goes away, it will take a few weeks for people to have confidence and for the markets will battle back and forth. If [markets] can maintain their levels, it will give confidence that they are capable of going on their own.”
Stocks were boosted after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy said at a press conference said that they were united behind a new aid package for Greece.The news came after Greece's prime minister appointed Evangelos Venizelos as finance minister, replacing the unpopular George Papaconstantinou.
Meanwhile, credit agency Moody's said it was putting Italy on watch for a possible credit rating downgrade, due to structural weaknesses and a likely rise in interest rates.
Gold prices gained to settle at $1,539.10 an ounce, marking its biggest one-day gain in three weeks, as the Greek debt crisis raised risk aversion. The euro pared losses against the U.S. dollar, but the greenback is still up nearly 2.5 percent over the last two weeks.