Stocks Edge Higher to Eke Out Weekly Gains
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) added 22 points, or 0.2%, to finish at 11,204. The blue chip index rebounded from an early selloff to just barely eke out gains for the week, breaking a slide going back to Nov. 5.
The broader S&P 500 ($INX) ticked up three points, or 0.3%, to close at 1,200, helped by strong quarterly results from Salesforce.com (CRM) and Nike (NKE), as well as Dell (DELL) after yesterday's close. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) rose 3.7 points, or 0.2%, to close at 2,518.
Fears of a slowdown in demand from China has been the market's bogeyman all week, but after taking a 400-point round-trip on the Dow since Monday, traders turned their attention elsewhere Friday.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke struck back at critics at home and abroad, defending the central bank's ongoing purchase of $600 billion in Treasurys. The Fed chief also took aim at China, saying the country's policy of undervaluing currency threatened "balanced and sustainable" global growth.
Pressure on the euro eased after Ireland's government said it was making progress in talks with E.U. over a bailout package, but the dollar barely budged and so neither did stocks or commodities. The U.S. Dollar index, which measures the greenback against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, dropped 0.3%.
Oil for December delivery fell 25 cents to $81.60 a barrel on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange (CME). Gold for December delivery was essentially unchanged at $1,353 an ounce.