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 earthquake in Japan, which triggered a tsunami that swept across the northern coast of Japan and hit the coast of Hawaii and Northern California. The news rattled stocks, currencies, and oil at the start of the session. Most Japanese ADRs traded lower, while the yen first fell sharply lower, then rose as traders remembered how strongly the yen performed after a quake in 1995. Currency Shares Japan Yen Trust rose. (Read more: Massive Quake Whipsaws the Yen).Skip to next paragraph
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Investors also focused on news of increased inflation in China, although the 4.9 percent rise was less than some had feared.
Treasury prices fell as traders feared Japan, the second largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasurys, would need to sell notes and bonds to fund rebuilding of the country, according to Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank. The 10-year Treasury added 26/32 points this week, pushing its yield to 3.397 percent.
Shares of oil ended lower for the week, although U.S. light sweet crude closed above $100 a barrel for the eight consecutive session. London Brent crude closed at $113.84. While the earthquake will lead to a near-term reduction in global demand, traders remain nervous about the direction of events in the Middle East and Libya, where intense fighting continued.
According to Lipow Oil Associates, 18 percent of Japan's oil refinery capacity shut down.
Companies in Japan are starting to assess the damage of the earthquake and flooding. But,
Steel stocks gave a lift to the materials sector after news Steel Dynamics expected first quarter earnings to rise from a year ago. The steelmaker's board also approved a 33 percent boost to its quarterly dividend. Rival steel stocks gained, including AK Steel, U.S. Steel, and Nucor.
As oil prices fell—but stayed at relatively high levels—energy stocks soared.Tesoro, Valero and Nabors shot higher.
In company news, Apple’s iPad2 goes on sale Friday, less than a year after the original iPad debut. The original iPad sold 300,000 units the first day, 500,000 the first week, and 1,000,000 in the first 28 days.