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U.S. stocks suffer biggest weekly loss in four months

English.news.cn   2012-10-13 06:17:02            

NEW YORK, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks settled narrowly mixed on Friday, ending the worst week in four month, amid concerns over sluggish economy and weak earnings season.

When the market closed on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 2.46 points, or 0.02 percent, to 13,328.85, just avoiding its first five-day losing streak in three months.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 4.25 points, or 0.30 percent, to 1,428.59.

The Nasdaq Composite Index suffered its sixth straight loss, the longest losing streak of the year, to settle at 3,044.11, dipping 5.30 points, or 0.17 percent from the previous session.

For the week, the Dow slumped 2.7 percent, the S&P dropped 2.21 percent, and the Nasdaq tumbled 2.94 percent.

Friday's session started with a gain, boosted by better-than- expected financial results from two major U.S. banks and surprisingly high consumer sentiment index.

JP Morgan Chase & Co., the U.S. biggest bank by assets, reported a record profit for the third quarter on Friday, as mortgage refinancing surged and commercial lending expanded.

Wells Fargo, the nation's biggest mortgage lender, also said its net income reached a record 4.94 billion dollars, surging 22 percent from a year earlier, as the low interest rate level boosted refinancing business.

More surprisingly, the Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for October rose to the highest level in over five years, showing Americans were more optimistic about the broad economy.

However, these numbers failed to help stocks hold their gains to the end. Major indexes erased gains in afternoon trading as there is still a lot of trepidation about the earnings season, which was expected to be the weakest since the financial crisis.

According to Thomson Reuters data, S&P 500 companies' quarterly earnings are expected to fall 3 percent from a year ago, marking the first decline in three years.

In the coming week, besides more earnings to watch, investors will also focus on Europe when the leaders meet in Brussels. Many investors were betting Spain will soon request an international bailout although Spanish government had been saying that the nation did not need assistance.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services cut Spain's long-term sovereign credit rating by two notches to one level above junk earlier in the week, only adding to speculations that Spain would have to ask for help under mounting pressures.

In other markets, the dollar was under pressure on anticipation for a possible Spain bailout and fell for the third straight day against the euro.

Light, sweet crude for November delivery dropped 21 cents, or 0. 23 percent to settle at 91.86 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, it rose 1.98 dollars, or 2.20 percent amid tensions in the Middle East region.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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