Stocks were mixed Friday in light trading as results of the European bank stress tests came out slightly better-than-expected, but gains were limited after some disappointing news on consumer confidence.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined, after ending lower in the previous session.
Chevron and Microsoft were higher on the blue-chip index, while Merck slipped into negative territory.
The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq advanced. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded near 21.
Stocks are on track to snap a two-week rally.
Eight banks—including two Greek banks, five Spanish and one Austrian bank—have failed the European Banking Authority's (EBA) stress tests, according to the agency.
Meanwhile, consumer sentiment fell in July to the lowest level since March 2009amid increasing pessimism over falling income and rising unemployment, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey.
"Of course sentiment is lower," according to Todd Schoenberger, managing director of LandColt Trading. "The only surprise here is the number didn't drop nearly as much as it should have!"
"Macro data has been horrible the past couple of months... [Jobless] claims at 405,000 isn't a bright spot—14 straight weeks we've been north of 400,000," Schoenberger explained. "EPS growth rate for this earnings season is expected to be 13.5 percent, the slowest since the recession, dare I say it, ended!"
Citigroup slipped after the bank's profits surged, topping estimates, as the firm's revenue was essentially flat from the previous year. Rivals JPMorgan and BofA were also trading lower.
Meanwhile, Standard & Poor's put a broad range of financial firms on negative credit watch, warning they could all be downgraded if the U.S. has its credit rating cut.
Also among earnings, Google soared to lead the S&P 500 leaders after the search-engine giant reported earnings that exceeded even the most bullish forecasts. At least three brokerages raised their price target on the search-engine giant. Chinese "Google" Baidu also traded higher.
Apple gained after at least two brokerages raised their price targets on the iPod maker. IBM also rose after Collins Stewart raised its price target on the tech giant to $200 from $185.
Gold reach an all-time high, soaring $48.60, or 3.15 percent, this week to settle at $1589.80 an ounce. Oil prices gained as U.S. light, sweet crude rose near $97 a barrel and London Brent crude climbed above $117.