NEW YORK – The Dow Jones industrial average rose for a third straight week, capping a two-month period in which the index has ended seven out of eight weeks higher than where it started.
Stocks ended on a mixed note Friday at the close of a busy week of earnings news. The Dow finished slightly down, while the broader Standard and Poor’s 500 index and the technology-focused Nasdaq both ended with gains.
The market appeared to be in a holding pattern as investors turned their attention to a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in South Korea. The group is meeting as tensions grow over a brewing currency battle that could affect global trade.
“Everyone is trying to get out of the economic doldrums by exporting,” said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank. “And everyone is trying to do it at one time.”
There are worries that some countries, like China, are holding their currencies at artificially low levels. That gives them an advantage in exporting goods as the global economy slowly recovers from a deep recession.
Each index finished the week with gains as a parade of large companies reported that they are making more money than analysts were expecting. A third of the companies that make up the Standard and Poor’s 500 index have now reported earnings, and approximately 75 percent have reported higher earnings per share than analysts forecast, according to Howard Silverblatt, the senior index analyst at Standard and Poor’s.
Shares of Hewlett-Packard rose 47 cents, or 1.1 percent, which made that company the top performing stock among the components of the Dow index. American Express, with its 3.1 percent drop, was the Dow’s worst performer.
The dollar rose slightly against other major currencies, but still remains near a 15-year low against Japan’s yen. It’s also near its lowest level of the year against the euro.