By Angie Hembury
The trading week began with the release of a weaker-than-expected manufacturing report which showed activity at an eight-month low, sparking economic fear in the hearts of investors. The Dow plunged 326 points, or 2.08%, its biggest loss in more than 7 months, while the S&P 500 plummeted 41 points, or 2.28%, and the Nasdaq faltered 107 points, or 2.61%.
Stock prices fought back Tuesday with investors picking up some bargains following a few solid corporate results. All the Major Indices recovered slightly with the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq picking up 72 points, 13 points and 35 points respectively.
A mixed batch of economic reports that included a worse-than-expected ADP jobs report and a better-than-expected ISM Non-Manufacturing Index report failed to inspire buying mid-week. The Dow ended just a touch in negative territory, losing a modest 0.03%, while the S&P 500 fared slightly worse, falling 0.20% and the Nasdaq experiencing the day's worst loss, dipping 0.50%.
A bigger-than-anticipated drop in weekly jobless claims gave stock prices a boost Thursday and the Dow and S&P 500 both gained more than 1.2%, their biggest gains so far this year and the Nasdaq rose 1.1%.
Stock prices continued to rise Friday despite a weak jobs report as investors chose to focus instead on a modest drop in the unemployment rate and some upbeat earnings from the likes of News Corp (NWS), Gap (GPS) and Expedia (EXPE). On Friday, the Dow rose 165.55 points to close at 15,794.08, the S&P 500 added 23.59 points to close at 1,797.02 and the Nasdaq increased 68.74 points to end at 4,125.86.
Overall, all of the Major Indices managed to notch a gain for the first week of February. And that's The Market In Review.