Archive for Saturday, November 19, 2005

Stock markets close at four-year highs

November 19, 2005

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— A late rebound gave Wall Street modest gains Friday as two acquisitions and upbeat earnings from Hewlett-Packard Co. helped lift the major indexes to four-year highs. The major indexes had their fourth straight winning week.

Lower oil prices also help stocks, easing worries about consumer spending ahead of the holiday shopping season. But many analysts remain split over whether the market will have its usual year-end rally, and trading has become erratic as mixed economic and earnings data has left investors wondering about the economy's health.

"You've had a pretty good run off the October bottoms," said Russ Koesterich, senior portfolio manager at Barclays Global Investments. "But there really are no major catalysts to help support the market coming into these levels.

"You don't want to read too much into a Friday of late November," he added.

Crude futures fell to five-month lows although the approaching winter weather still has many concerned about oil and gas supplies. A barrel of light crude dropped 20 cents to settle at $56.14 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

For the week, the Dow added 0.75 percent, the S&P; 500 rose 1.1 percent and the Nasdaq gained 1.12 percent. However, while the indexes are at four-year highs, their performance for the year to date is mediocre at best: The Dow is down 0.15 percent, the S&P; 500 is up 3 percent and the Nasdaq is 2.37 percent higher.

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