July 18, 2009 in Business

Strong week ends on mixed note

Sara Lepro And Tim Paradis Associated Press
 

NEW YORK – Investors are betting that the stock market has restarted its spring rally.

Stocks ended little changed Friday but held onto an enormous gain for the week. Investors are looking to another flood of corporate earnings reports next week to provide more signs that the economy is healing.

The Dow Jones industrials and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index posted their best weekly performance since early March, when the market’s spring rally began. Major stock indexes rose about 7 percent for the week.

“The earnings are better than expected and the economic news is not horrifically bad,” said Jeff Buetow, managing partner at Innealta Portfolio Advisors. “I think people want the market to go up.”

Solid results from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Intel Corp. spurred buying early in the week. But not all the results Friday were strong, so the market barely budged.

Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. became the latest banks to report big profits but also weakness in their loan portfolios. General Electric Co. beat earnings forecasts, but its revenue came up short.

“The important thing is these earnings results, while not all entirely positive, are beginning to show some signs of stabilization,” said Tom Kersting, an analyst at Edward Jones.

The week’s upward move has, at least for now, halted a slide that began in mid-June as investors worried the 40 percent jump in stocks this spring was overdone. Analysts said it was a healthy sign that the market was taking a breather Friday.

The Dow closed the week up 597.42, or 7.3 percent, at 8,743.94. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 61.25, 7 percent, to 940.38. The Nasdaq composite index rose 130.58, or 7.4 percent, to 1,886.61.

The Russell 2000 index, which tracks the performance of small company stocks, rose 38.24, or 8 percent, for the week to 519.22.

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