Stocks Close Strong on 5-Day Win Streak
Wall Street made it a clean sweep, overcoming worries about European debt and a weak US economy to finish positive every day of the week.
The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 5 percent, with the market enjoying its first five-day winning streak since July. It was the best week for the Nasdaq tech gauge since July of 2009. The Dow finished within 25 points of its high for the day and closed the week up 4.7 percent.
To reach the feat, the market had to overcome a round of weak economic reports, particularly on job creation, manufacturing and consumer confidence, as well as wrangling over how best to get Europe out of its sovereign debt mess.
The market's focus remained primarily on Europe, where US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and others will work this weekend on a solution to the euro zone sovereign debt problem.
Stocks moved in a tight range for most of the day, reflecting concerns about political pressures surrounding both Europe and the US.
"We're trading on political events, not so much on economic events," said Beth Larson, principal at Evermay Wealth Management in Washington, D.C. "I don't see a sustained upturn in the markets probably until the election next year. Whatever happens on the political front between now and 14 months from now is going to be all posturing for the election cycle."
Global financial institutions gained a day after news that central banks will cooperate on dollar liquidity programs to help the institutions through the euro zone debt crisis.
Shares of Barclays and Credit Suisse led foreign banks.
But while global banks were faring well, their US counterparts had a harder time of it. The KBW Bank Index was off about 1 percent though the financials sector on the Standard & Poor's 500 hovered around breakeven.
On the Dow industrials, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase fell more than 1 percent each. Boeing gained following news that Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM said it planned to order 50 long-haul jetliners from Airbus and Boeing in a deal worth around $12 billion at list prices.
Procter & Gamble and Intel were the biggest gainers on the bluechip index.
Volume was fairly brisk, with about 1.05 billion shares changing hands with a half hour left to trading. Breadth was slightly negative, with losers beating losers 1.25 to 1. There were 32 new highs against 17 new lows.
Yahoo was among leaders for the Nasdaq tech gauge, following news that private equity firm Silver Lake was also reported to be considering a bid for the internet company.
Investors faced yet another piece of bad economic news. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index was a shade better than forecasts at 57.8. But a separate index gauging confidence for the future hit its lowest level since 1980.
Quadruple witching—contracts for stock index futures, stock index options, stock options and single stock futures all expiring—added volatility to trading.
In other markets, gold gained 1.5 percent to finish at $1,184, while silver surged 2.6 percent to break the $40 barrier at $40.83. Treasurys finished higher, with the benchmark 10-year yield edging lower to 2.07 percent. Oil fell 1.5 percent to $88.04 a barrel.
Elsewhere in stocks, Research In Motion fell as the company reported a steep drop in quarterly profit on limp sales of its smartphones and tablets.
Citigroup reiterated its sell rating and $20 price target for RIM, which was off about 20 percent.
Netflix shares also continued to come under pressure after the company lowered its estimated customer guidance. Shares were off more than 8 percent and are down 15 percent over the past month.
Diamond Foods surged after the company beat expectations with a 27 percent quarterly profit increase.
Barnes & Noble shares were higher after the bookseller won an auction for the name and web domain of its rival Borders, which closes its doors for good this week.
And UBS is expected to shrink its investment banking business after being hit by a loss of around $2 billion because of a trader's unauthorized trading.