Stocks finished a volatile session mixed as traders jockeyed for postions on this quadruple-witching Friday and techs rallied. But major averages finished lower for the week, snapping a four-week winning streak.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 15.87, or 0.2 percent, to close at 8,539.73. The S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped more than 1.1 percent.
The volume just looks bearish for the S&P 500 index, independent trader Bill McLaren said on CNBC. "It looks to me like there's just a lack of interest at this price level," he said, adding that he thinks the S&P could drop to 850.
Today is the once-a-quarter event known as "quadruple witching," which is the simultaneous expiration of stock index futures, stock index options, stock futures, and stock options. It happens on the third Friday of the third month of every quarter.
Historically, major averages have closed up two out of three timeson quadruple witching days.
Stocks kicked off the week with their worst day in a month and continued lower for a few sessions as investors began to wonder if the recent rally was overblown and digested the Obama administration's plan for tighter bank regulations. But things picked up as the week went on — investors cheered a slew of encouraging economic reports, including the Philly Fed report, leading indicators and weekly jobless claims, and tech stocks rallied.
Adding to the optimism, the International Monetary Fund said it may raise its 2010 growth forecast for the global economy in the coming weeks.
Still, stocks finished lower for the week, snapping a four-week winning streak. The Dow lost 3 percent, leaving it in negative territory for the year. The S&P shed 2.6 percent and the Nasdaq fell 1.7 percent, but both indexes are up for the year.
Techs and banks see-sawed throughout the week, one day up, one day, down.
Techs were the star Friday, ending up after several upgrades in the sector. For the week, though, they lost more than 1 percent.
Microsoft shares rose 2.4 percent after Goldman Sachs added the stock to its "conviction buy" list, saying revenue drivers, cost controls and the company's cash cushion have set the mood for the company to beat earnings expectations.
Shares of Apple rose 2.7 percent as the Apple 3GS hit store shelves today. The phone has twice the storage of previous phones — 16 gigabytes — for the same price point, $200. A 32-gigabyte model is priced at $300. It also has a lot of features that iPhone users were craving, including a better camera, the ability to record video and voice dialing. Read David Pogue's reviewandcheck out Jim Goldman's blog from an Apple store in San Francisco.
>> Smaller Crowds Greet Apple's iPhone
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion didn't partake in Friday's rally, with ADRs losing 4.9 percent as investors focused on the Canadian company's disappointing outlook over their earnings beat and a couple of analyst upgrades.
Three brokerage firms raised their price targets on RIM stock. Raymond James raised its price target to $90 from $86 with an "outperform" rating. Deutsche Bank also raised its price target — to $67 from $56 — with a "hold" rating. BMO raised its price target to $90 fom $82 with an "outperform" rating.
Banks continued to advance, despite a wobbly session.
Regions Financial gained 2.5 percent after the bank said it's almost done raising the $2.5 billoin in capital required by the government's stress test. It's achieved the goal through stock offerings and selling some of its stock, including shares of Visa.
JPMorgan advanced 2.4 percent after Robert W. Baird analysts said the stock was an "attractive buy" due to its valuation and its potential for rapid earnings growth compared to its peers.
Citigroup gained 1.3 percent after Rochedale Securities analyst Dick Bove started coverage of the stock with a "buy" rating, saying the bank was simply too big for the government to allow it to fail.
E*Trade skidded 12 percent after a disappointing offering of 435 million shares at $1.10 a share, far less than the stock's closing price on Thursday.
Carnival Cruise Lines rallied 7.4 percent as at least two analysts upgraded the stock after the cruise-ship operator beat earnings expectations.
The market was also buzzing about the arrest of Allen Stanford in connection with his alleged $8 billion Ponzi scheme involving certificates of deposit. Stanford has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing.
For the week, nine of ten key S&P sectors finished lower, led by energy as crude took a breather, ending the week at $69.55 a barrel, amid expectations that there will be plenty of supply to meet summer demand.
Health-care was the best-performing sector, up 2.1 percent, amid speculation that significant health-care reform may be D.O.A.
In Friday's action, health-care providers rallied, with Cigna gaining 6.7 percent and Humana up 3.1 percent.
With all the expirations, trading volume was heavy on the New York Stock Exchange: Roughly 2.13 billion shares changed hands, well above the daily average of 1.49 billion. Advancers outpaced decliners, roughly 3 to 2.
On Tap for Next Week:
The two-day Fed meeting that starts on Tuesday is the main event, with a smattering of earnings and economic reports.
TUESDAY: Two-day Fed meeting begins; existing-home sales; Earnings from Oracle after the bell
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications; durable goods; new-home sales; weekly oil inventories; Fed announcement
THURSDAY: Weekly jobless claims; GDP (final); Earnings from Palm
FRIDAY: Personal income/spending; consumer sentiment; Earnings from KBHome
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