Stocks closed mixed but mostly higher yesterday, with Caterpillar's lackluster results dragging down the Dow Jones industrials while strong...
NEW YORK — Stocks closed mixed but mostly higher yesterday, with Caterpillar’s lackluster results dragging down the Dow Jones industrials while strong earnings from Google led a broader rally. The major indexes were mixed for the week.
The Dow fell 65.88 to 10,215.22, ending down 0.7 percent for the week.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, slipped 1 cent yesterday to close at $24.78, ending up 0.4 percent for the week. Boeing, also a Dow stock, tumbled $1.28 to $66.02, ending off 2.2 percent for the week.
Meanwhile, the broader stock indicators advanced. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 1.79 to 1,179.59, and the Nasdaq composite index jumped 14.10 to 2,082.21. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 0.6 percent, but the Nasdaq rose 0.8 percent.
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Crude oil lingered below $60 a barrel most of the day following recent government reports indicating U.S. petroleum inventories have been expanding. But at the end of the day, oil had added 61 cents to settle at $60.63.
Dow component Caterpillar posted a 34 percent rise in quarterly profit, but the construction equipment maker slashed its full-year outlook because of potential charges and a higher tax rate. Caterpillar dropped $5.11 to $48.92.
But Google’s late Thursday report that its profit grew more than sevenfold to $381.2 million launched its stock $36.70 higher to $339.90.
Trading could be volatile again next week as another wave of companies release their quarterly results.
Yesterday’s skittish session closed out a turbulent week for Wall Street as troubling economic data renewed fears about inflation, overshadowing mostly positive third-quarter profit reports from the nation’s biggest companies. Investors scouring for signs of the market’s direction sent the Dow climbing more than 1 percent Wednesday, but took back the gains a day later.
Although corporate earnings have so far been favorable, the market is still battling three major headwinds — rising interest rates, inflation and high energy prices, said Michael Sheldon, chief investment strategist at Spencer Clarke.
“Right now, I think the market needs a catalyst in order to get out of this difficult environment,” Sheldon said. But with oil falling and recent data showing higher prices have so far been limited to the energy industry, Wall Street may question whether the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates too high.
Comments from three Fed officials this week signaled that the central bank remains steadfast on keeping its rate-tightening campaign.
“They have been repeatedly saying they’re going to continue their mission of trying to restrain inflation,” said Paul McManus, senior vice president at Independence Investments. “They want to make sure oil inflation does not spread into core inflation.”