Stocks mixed ahead of opening bell as trading week draws to a close


It has been a volatile week on Wall Street. After the Dow Jones industrial average retreated below the 10,000 level on Wednesday, the benchmark index, buoyed by positive third-quarter earnings reports, roared back to life Thursday, gaining more than 130 pints to end at 10,081. On Friday morning, however, stock futures were mixed ahead of the morning bell, as investors awaited earnings from software-giant Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and a fresh report on sales of existing homes.

The world's largest maker of appliances, Whirlpool Corp. (WHR), reported Friday its third-quarter earnings fell by nearly half to $87 million, or $1.15 a share, from $163 million, or $2.15 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Still, the company far exceeded analyst estimates of 77 cents a share. The Michigan-based company also raised its full-year earnings guidance to $4.25 a share, from the previously stated range of $3.50 to $4 a share.

More here: Before the bell: Earnings enthusiasm shows signs of slipping