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.
Research In Motion plunged over 20 percentto trade at its lowest level since 2006 after the BlackBerry maker posted revenue below its own forecast, forcing it to slash its outlook. Analysts expressed concern as at least 15 brokerages cut their price targets, while another five lowered their ratings on the firm.
Also on the tech front, chipmakers were mostly lower, including Nvidia and Marvell .
Cisco and Intel were the biggest laggards on the Dow, while Apple slipped to trade at the lowest level of the year.
Capital One beat bids from the likes of GE Capital and CIT Group to buy ING’s U.S. online bank for $9 billion in cash and stock. Suntrust Robinson raised its rating on Capital One to "buy" from "neutral."
BJ's Wholesale slipped even after private equity firms Leonard Green and CVC Capital confirmed it will submit a joint bid for the warehouse club. Meanwhile, Janney Capital cut its rating on the firm to "neutral" from "buy."
Bankrate saw a late-afternoon comeback after tumbling in its public debut after the consumer financial services company priced its IPO at $15 per share, in the middle of the expected range of $14 to $16.
Meanwhile, Pandora rebounded to finish higher on its third day of trading. But the Internet-radio company is still well-below its initial price offering price of $16 a share.
Oil prices fell, with U.S. light, sweet crude down $1.94, to settle at $93.01 a barrel, the lowest since the Feb. 18. London Brent crude declined 81 cents to settle at $113.21. Prices have slipped more than 6 and 4 percent for the week, respectively.
Airlines gained on the heel of lower oil prices. United Continental , Delta Airlines and Southwest Airlines all traded higher.
On the economic front, leading indicators rose more than expected in May to a record high, according to the Conference Board.
Meanwhile, consumer sentiment worsened more than expected in Juneamid concerns over the outlook for the economy, while worries about inflation eased modestly, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey.
European shares closed higher, but still racked up a seventh straight weekly loss—the longest such run in three and a half years.
On Tap Next Week:
MONDAY: No major economic news expected
TUESDAY: Existing home sales, FOMC meeting begins; Earnings from Walgreens, Barnes & Noble, Adobe
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps, oil inventories, FOMC meeting announcement; Earnings from FedEx, Bed Bath & Beyond
THURSDAY: Weekly jobless claims, new home sales, money supply, Yahoo shareholders meeting; Earnings from ConAgra, Discover Financial, Oracle
FRIDAY: Durable goods, GDP, corporate profits
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