Stocks fell broadly Friday on fresh signs that Europe’s debt problems and the U.S. economy continue to languish.
A mixed bag of positive and negative economic indicators left investors struggling between buy and sell strategies. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 143 points, or 1.3%, to 11,154. It had been down as many as 45 points.
The Dow rose 50.03 points, or 0.4%, to close at 12,220.59. It gained 362 points for the week, the most since a 512-point jump during the week ending July 9. The S&P 500 rose 4.14, or 0.3% to 1,313.80. The Nasdaq rose 6.64 points, or 0.2%, to 2,743.06. All three stock indexes gained more than 2% for the week, helping them erase losses following the March 11 earthquake that hit Japan.
Earnings growth has been strong across U.S. companies, which have benefited from higher revenue overseas. The government also said fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, evidence that layoffs are slowing.
An Energy Department report showed that gasoline consumption continues to grow despite sharp price increases at the pump. That gave the stock market some stimulation.
Stocks started the week with big gains Monday on a major telecommunications deal and signs that Japan’s nuclear crisis was stabilizing. The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 12,000 for the first time since a nuclear power plant in Japan failed following a massive earthquake and tsunami.