Without green shoots, stocks post first weekly loss since May

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The equity markets' fascination with so-called "green shoots" isn't about cheering good news. It's about reacting to bad news that didn't turn out to be as awful as feared. It's the same phenomenon that can drive a company's stock upward even when it's posting massive losses, so long as they aren't as steep as analysts predicted. And it still holds even a day on which no meaningful corporate earnings or economic indicators were released.

Take this afternoon's announcement by JPMorgan Chase (JPM) that it will take a hit to its quarterly earnings of only $1.1 billion as it buys back the preferred shares it sold under the government's bank rescue program. That's less than a prominent bank analyst had predicted, sending its shares higher in the last hour of trading. Other financials followed suit, leading the Dow Jones industrial average up somewhat. Still, the Dow finished lower by 16 points, or 0.2 percent, at 8,540, for its first weekly loss in more than a month.

For more on stocks making moves today, be sure to check out BloggingStocks' market wrap-up.
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