Stocks finished a strong week and a tough month with a mixed session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 60.00 points (+0.45%), Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 11.4 points (+0.78%), and the Nasdaq lost 7.2 points (-0.27%). Volume on the NYSE was significant at 1.89 billion shares, and advancers beat decliners by a ratio of about 5:2.
The markets got a boost Thursday night after most took Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech as an indication the Fed would lower rates its next meeting. He seemed to be worried about a U.S. economic downturn as the housing slump and credit problems continued to weigh heavily on the market (full story). After the speech the market basically ignored weak economic data from the Commerce Department which showed personal income and spending both grew less than anticipated (full story). Also, construction spending fell more than expected. The US 10-year Treasury note fell 10/32 in price, pushing yields up to 3.97%.
Dell (-12.8%) sold off hard despite the company's income increasing 27%. Investors were disappointed by the Dell's weak outlook (full story). As a result, the tech sector (-0.74%) was the lone sector to lose ground Friday, while financials (+1.72%) and transportation (+1.45%) provided some support to the markets. Crude slid $2.30 to $88.71. The Wall Street Journal reported the U.S. government and lenders were working to temporarily freeze rates on subprime mortgage loans (full story). On the news, Freddie Mac (+18.8%) and Countrywide (+16.3%) rallied.
ISM Manufacturing (10:00 AM) is the only major economic news set to be released Monday. For the month the Dow (-4.0%), S&P (-4.3%), and Nasdaq (-6.9%) all lost ground, but the damage could have been much worse without this weeks strong performances.
Commentary: Dell Hopes To Create 'Product Lust' Following Mixed Earnings • Recession or No Recession? That is the Question
Stocks to watch: DELL, FRE, CFC