Stocks end week down, shaken by global woes
The Dow average rose 59 points on Friday, but was down 1 percent for the week.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 59.79 points or 0.50 percent to close at about 12,044.40 on Friday. For the week, the blue chip index fell 1.03 percent.
The S&P 500 gained 9.16 points or 0.71 percent to close at 1,304.28 on Friday. For the week, the S&P 500 fell 1.28 percent.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 14.59 points, or 0.54 percent, to close at 2,715.61 Friday. For the week, the Nasdaq fell 2.48 percent.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell 6.6 percent this week to 20.31.
The U.S. equity markets have had a muted reaction to the Japanese quake on fairly light volume, as equity markets treaded water throughout most of the session.
Still, the market is at a "crucial spot" technically, as the S&P 500 is just sitting above its 50-day moving average of 1,300.13, Joseph Benanti, managing director at Rosenblatt Securities, told CNBC.com. "If we close lower, we’ll see a follow through in the early part of next week," he said.
That softness could continue until the Federal Open Market Committee's announcement next Tuesday, where traders will look for a sense of the Fed's current thinking on its $600 billion bond buying program known as "quantitative easing 2."
"I think people are watching and waiting to see what happens next week," Benanti said.
Over the weekend, traders will remain focused on events in the Middle East, and its implications for oil prices, as well as the news flow out of Japan.
"Everybody's watching what's happening over the weekend," another trader said. "Nobody wants to make a bet one way or the other."