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Archive for Saturday, July 19, 2008

Weekly gains raise up stocks despite technology losses

July 19, 2008

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— U.S. stocks wavered mostly lower Friday but were still on track for weekly gains, as financials shares struggled to regain their footing after Citigroup Inc. reported smaller-than-expected losses but Merrill Lynch & Co. disappointed.

The technology sector weighed heavily on U.S. equities after some of the sector's largest players including Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. disappointed investors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 17.91 points to 11,464.57, ahead 3.3 percent on the week, with 14 of its 30 component stocks gaining, led by Citigroup, its shares up 7.6 percent, as the banking giant reported a quarterly loss of 54 cents a share - narrower than the consensus view of 62 cents.

Citigroup's not-as-bad-as-expected results helped fuel a modest rise in the dollar, with the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a trade-weighted basket of currencies, at 72.19, compared with 72.048 late Thursday.

Treasurys declined, pushing the 10-year notes toward a weekly loss.

Blue-chip losses were led by software giant Microsoft, down 6.6 percent, after its late Thursday report of double-digit second-quarter profit growth as well as a disappointing outlook for the current quarter.

The S&P 500 declined 3.27 points to 1,257.05, which would represent a gain of 1.4 percent from last Friday's close.

Consumer staples fronting sector declines on the S&P, off 0.8 percent, followed by information technology, down 0.6 percent, and materials, which was recently off 0.6 percent.

Helping bolster the energy sector, Schlumberger Corp. shares were up 5.2 percent, after the Houston company reported second-quarter net income climbed 13 percent.

The technology-laden Nasdaq Composite dropped 32.98 points to 2,279.32, positioning it for a 1.8 percent gain on the week.

Trading volume topped 1.2 billion shares on New York Stock Exchange, with declining issues edging just ahead of advancing shares.

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