Closing Update: S&P Ekes Out Gain Late; Dow Finishes Higher in Trading Day Dominated by Earnings Results

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Stocks closed mixed Friday. The S&P 500 finished slightly higher, reversing some late day downside volatility seen after a lunch-time rally carried the broad market gauge within a few points of breaking even for the session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was higher throughout the session, however, supported by Microsoft ( MSFT ), Intel ( INTC ) and IBM ( IBM ) working to offset declines for General Electric Co. ( GE ) and American Express ( AXP ) after the latter two companies failed to meet expectations with December quarter revenues.

In a light day for economic news, sales of previously owned U.S. homes climbed for a third month during December to an annualized rate of 4.61 million homes, its highest level in 11 months. Still, the pace trailed the consensus call of experts polled by Bloomberg News by roughly 50,000 homes. The number of unsold homes also fell to its lowest point since 2007, the National Association of Realtors said today.

In other company news, Talbots Inc. (TLB) rose sharply Friday after saying it turned down a takeover offer from private-equity firm Sycamore Partners, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sycamore was offering about $212.1 million, or $3 a share, which TLB rejected as inadequate and said substantially undervalued the company.

Commodity futures were mixed with February gold rising about 0.5% to settle at $1,663 per ounce; crude finished its February contract on Friday, settling at $98.20 a barrel, down $1.93.

Here's where markets stood at end-of-day:

-DJIA up 96.50 (+0.76%) to 12,720.48

-S&P 500 up 0.88 (+0.07%) to 1,315.28

-Nasdaq down 1.63 (-0.06%) to 2786.70

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei up 1.47%.

Hang Seng up 0.84%.

Shanghai Composite up 1.00%.

FTSE-100 down 0.17%.

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) CTIC, Expects EU regulators to issue opinion by mid-February on its drug candidate for non-Hodgkin's B cell lymphomas.

(+) MERC, Raises yearly production goal for German paper mill to 675,000 metric tons, up 30,000 tons

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) ANF Janney analyst says aggressive markdowns may hurt margins

(-) ACHN Investment website raises questions about company's hepatitis C drug.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AXP , GE , IBM , INTC , MSFT

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