Stocks mixed after Thursday's big rally
The Dow gained 23 points to finish at 12231 on a quiet day on Wall Street
A quiet day on Wall Street ended Friday with major stock indexes little changed after a big rally the day before. The Dow Jones industrial average closed out its fifth week of gains, its longest winning streak since January.
The Dow edged up 23 points, or 0.2 percent, to finish at 12,231.11. Stock indexes jumped more than 3 percent Thursday after European leaders unveiled a plan to expand their regional bailout fund and take other steps to contain the debt crisis in Greece.
Optimism ebbed on Friday as analysts raised questions about the plan, which left out many key details about how the fund would work. European markets mostly fell, and the euro declined against the dollar.
"It's a kind of sobering-up after a day of partying," said Jerry Webman, chief economist with Oppenheimer Funds in New York. "We got back to what's more of a square position, closer to where we want to be, and now we're going to take a couple of deep breaths and reassess what this really means."
There are still plenty of obstacles to overcome before the crisis is resolved. One troubling sign: Borrowing costs for Italy and Spain increased, signaling that traders remain worried about their finances.
The S&P 500 rose less than a point to 1,285.09. The Nasdaq composite fell 1.48, or 0.1 percent, to 2,737.15.
In less than four weeks, the Dow has risen 14.8 percent from its 2011 low, reached on Oct. 3. The S&P has gained 17 percent. However, the Dow remains 4.5 percent below this year's high, reached on April 29. The S&P is 5.8 percent below its high.
The Dow surged 3.6 percent for the week; the S&P and Nasdaq each gained 3.8 percent. Both indexes are on pace to have their best month since January 1987.
Whirlpool Corp. slumped 14 percent, the most in the S&P index, after the appliance maker said it would cut 5,000 jobs, citing weak demand and higher costs for materials. Another household name, Newell Rubbermaid Inc., soared 11 percent after its adjusted earnings beat Wall Street's expectations. The maker of tubs and markers maintained its outlook for the year.
Cablevision Systems Corp. fell 12.5 percent after reporting that its third-quarter net income dropped sharply and it lost cable TV subscribers. Hewlett-Packard Co. rose 3.5 percent after the company said it would shelve its plan to spin off its PC business.
Thursday's stock rally led to a sell-off in Treasurys, which traders hold to protect their money when other investments are falling. Demand for Treasurys increased sharply Friday, pushing the yield on the 10-year Treasury down to 2.33 percent from 2.39 percent late Thursday.
Markets have been roiled for months by fears about the impact of Europe's debt crisis. Greece couldn't afford to repay its lenders, and banks holding Greek bonds faced billions in losses. A disorganized default by Greece threatened to spook lenders to other countries with heavy debt loads such as Spain and Italy. Traders feared that a wave of defaults by countries would cause financial panic and mire the global economy.
Some analysts expect traders to refocus on U.S. economic news next week after months spent watching Europe. The government releases its jobs report for October next Friday. A news conference by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke might offer clues about the Fed's economic outlook. Key reports on manufacturing and business sentiment are due out as well.