Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By Steve Rothwell
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The stock market fizzled Friday at the end of a holiday-shortened trading day, but still logged its longest streak of weekly gains in a decade.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index ended down one point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,805.81. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,086.41.
Investors watched for early trends in holiday sales as the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, got underway. Retailers were one of two industry groups in the S&P 500 to rise.
Stocks overall have surged this year as the economy maintains a slow but steady recovery and corporations keep earnings growing. Demand for stocks also has been bolstered by Federal Reserve policies that have held down interest rates, making bonds less attractive investments than stocks.
Stocks rose for most of the day Friday, but petered out in the last half hour of trading. The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq closed early, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, and activity was lower than average a day after Thanksgiving. Thin trading can lead to swings in markets.
Although the S&P 500 and Dow slipped, the Nasdaq composite rose 15 points, or 0.4 percent, to end at 4,059.89. The index has surged 34 percent this year, more than the other two indexes. And even though the S&P 500 eased Friday, it still rose for an eighth straight week, its longest stretch of weekly advances in a decade.
November is typically a strong month for the stock market, and this year was no exception. The S&P 500 ended the month with a gain of 2.8 percent, the ninth month this year that the index has advanced. Returns for the month rank as the third best for the Dow and the S&P 500, according to the Stock Trader’s Almanac.