February 9, 2008 in Business

Wall Street gives up gains

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review
 

NEW YORK – Wall Street finished a dismal week with a mixed performance Friday as investors grappled with fears about insurers of distressed mortgage-backed bonds and anxiety about the broader economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average, which rose in earlier trading, fell more than 60 points, while the Nasdaq composite index managed a gain. Both ended the week down more than 4 percent, however, and it was the Dow’s worst week, percentage-wise, since March 2003.

The market has been shaken in recent weeks by uncertainty surrounding bond insurers and whether they’ll be able to handle huge losses in the value of mortgage-backed bonds.

Financial stocks fell because of heavy selling in the corporate bond and leveraged loan markets. Meanwhile, soaring commodities prices hit retailers, said Miller Tabak equity strategist Peter Boockvar.

The Dow dropped 64.87, or 0.53 percent, to 12,182.13 – above its lows of the day, but well off its highs, too. The biggest losers among the 30 Dow companies were financial companies American Express Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Broader stock indicators were mixed. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 5.62, or 0.42 percent, to 1,331.29, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 11.82, or 0.52 percent, to 2,304.85.

The Dow ended the week down 561.06, or 4.40 percent, while the S&P 500 index lost 64.13, or 4.60 percent, and the Nasdaq fell 108.51, or 4.50 percent.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq fared better than the other indexes Friday thanks partly to Amazon.com Inc., which authorized a $1 billion share buyback program. The online retailer rose $2.59, or 3.7 percent, to $73.50.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei average closed down 1.44 percent. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.05 percent, Germany’s DAX index rose 0.50 percent, and France’s CAC-40 fell 0.30 percent.

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