U.S. stocks closed narrowly mixed on Friday, winding down several turbulent trading days with gains for the week, helped by a sharp rebound in crude oil and good economic data. ( Tweet This )
"Sort of an anticlimactic end to a dramatic week. It tells me the internal state of the market is such that we are looking to see similar trading days because what (triggered it) hasn't changed," said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman. He expects U.S. corporate earnings to be the primary factor for markets in the longer term.
The Nasdaq Composite ended up 2.6 percent for the week, recovering more than a 8.79 percent plunge, in its biggest intra-week reversal on record. The index is the only major average positive for the year so far.
The S&P 500 eked out a gain of about 1 point on the day, holding a 0.91 percent gain for the week. The index recovered from a 5.27 decline for its biggest intra-week reversal since the week of Sept. 19, 2008, when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt.
"I think everybody is probably a little exhausted from the week. I think everybody decides to leave early and we end the week pretty calmly," said Mark Heppenstall, managing director at Penn Mutual Asset Management. "The trading has become thin. It'll become easier to push us around."
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down about 12 points after briefly falling more than 100 points in afternoon trade, with Wal-Mart and Johnson & Johnson the greatest weights on the index by dollar point impact. The blue chip index was down 6.62 percent at its lows for the week and ended up 1.11 percent in its biggest reversal since the last week of October 1987.
Jeff Carbone, co-founder and managing partner of Cornerstone Financial Partners, was watching Friday's close carefully as traders head into the weekend.
"Selloff—it would show a lack of confidence," he said.
The S&P 500 entered a Death Cross in morning trade Friday, with the 50-day moving average falling below the declining 200-day moving average for the first time since August 2011.
Traders also digested a rebound in oil from six-and-a-half-year lows, amid solid U.S. data and comments from Federal Reserve policy makers on the timing of a rate hike.
The energy sector closed up about 2 percent, off highs of more than 3 percent, but still the greatest S&P gainer for the day and the week. Crude oil topped $45 a barrel, briefly up more than 20 percent from Monday's low.
Crude oil futures for October delivery settled up $2.66, or 6.25 percent, at $45.22 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In an interview with CNBC, Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said it is "early to tell" if the case for a September rate hike is more or less compelling.
"I think he studiously said not much of anything. The problem is when you say nothing everybody thinks something, so I think that's what's unfolding right now," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG.
Short-end bond yields jumped, with the 2-year Treasury note yield leaping to 0.73 percent. The 10-year Treasury yield traded near 2.18 percent. The U.S. dollar spiked, with the euro below $1.12 and the yen weaker near 121 yen against the greenback.