NEW YORK – The worst week for the stock market in two months ended with a whimper in thin trading Friday.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 4.8 percent this week, while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 4.7 percent. Both had their worst weeks since Sept. 23.
Major indexes wavered throughout Friday’s session, which was shortened because it’s the day after Thanksgiving. Worries about Europe’s debt crisis flared up again after Italy had to pay 7.8 percent to borrow for two years at a debt auction. It’s another sign that investors are increasingly hesitant to lend to European countries.
The euro slipped to $1.32, losing 2 percent this week against the dollar. The drop puts the euro at its lowest level since Oct. 4.
Higher interest rates on government debt of Italy, Spain and other European countries have rattled stock markets in recent weeks. When borrowing costs climb above the 7 percent threshold, it deepens investor fears about a government’s ability to manage its debts. Greece, Ireland and Portugal had to seek financial lifelines when their interest rates crossed the same mark.
The Dow fell 25.77 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 11,231.78. Of the Dow’s 30 stocks, Chevron Corp. lost 1.6 percent Friday, the biggest drop. Travelers Cos. Inc. added 1.2 percent, the largest gain.
The S&P 500 lost 3.12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,158.67. The Nasdaq composite dropped 18.57, or 0.8 percent, to close at 2,441.51.
Trading volume was 1.6 billion, less than half the daily average.
Markets were battered this week as governments in Europe and the U.S. struggle to tackle their debts. The Dow lost 248 points on Monday as a Congressional committee failed to reach a deal to cut federal budget deficits. It plunged 236 points Wednesday after investors balked at buying German government debt.
Four stocks fell for every three that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.
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