A lot of market movement led to a little gain Friday, as a late day rally pushed the indices back into positive territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 27.23 points (+0.20%), the Standard & Poor's 500 index increased 1.21 points (+0.08%), and the Nasdaq finished up 15.55 (+0.56%). Volume was solid at 1.72 billion shares at the NYSE, and advancers eked out a victory over decliners by a ratio of about 6:5.
The morning started with good news from the Labor Department, which announced the economy had added 166,000 jobs in its nonfarm payrolls report (full story). The number was double what economists expected and boosted each index enough to start off positive. The markets quickly changed direction however, as the Wall Street Journal published a report that Merrill Lynch (-7.9%) was trying to hide losses from the credit crisis by essentially having hedge funds hold the loans for a year, and guaranteeing them a certain return (full story). Merrill denied the story, but nightmares from Enron brought out sellers, and the bank traded at a new 52-week low. Late in the day, the Wall Street Journal also reported Citigroup's (-2.0%) board will hold an emergency meeting this weekend (full story). More unexpected, rumors circulated that Goldman Sachs (-4.4%) was going to announce a large write-off, but Goldman immediately denied the statement. Off all the negative financial news, the 10-Year U.S. Treasury jumped 13/32, to yield 4.30%.
The financial sector was helped by a broad based rally at the end of the session to finish down only -1.6%. The tech (+0.8%) and energy (+1.0%) sectors had solid performances. Chevron (-0.6%) announced a 26% drop in earnings and fell short of estimates (full story). NYSE Euronext (-0.5%) finished down despite topping estimates because of record volume (full story). Crude traded up $2.44 to finish at $95.93/barrel. The dollar lost ground, and gold traded up 1.9%.
The only significant economic news to be released Monday is the ISM Non-Manufacturing Survey results.
Have a pleasant weekend.
Commentary: The Party Rolls On; Until the Next Correction • Fed Rate Cut Again Fails to Help Those That Need it Most
Stocks to watch: MER, C, GS, CVX, NYX