- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 19, 2008

NEW YORK | Wall Street closed out an impressive week with a mixed performance Friday after disappointing high-tech earnings punctured some of investors’ enthusiasm over better-than-expected bank earnings reports. But the major indexes still ended the week with big gains, the result of rising optimism about the troubled financial sector.

The market was clearly pleased when Citigroup Inc., while reporting a second-quarter loss Friday morning, beat analysts’ forecasts and joined Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. in delivering stronger results than the market anticipated. But investors who ecstatically sent the Dow Jones industrials soaring by more than 480 points over Wednesday and Thursday were brought back down to earth by results from Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Google’s results were lower than expected because of a weakening economy hurting advertising revenue, while Microsoft missed forecasts by a penny. Also, AMD’s chief executive officer stepped down after the chip maker posted a wider-than-expected loss.

It was a good sign to some analysts that the market didn’t sell off sharply after two straight days of hefty gains.

The Dow rose 49.91, or 0.44 percent, to 11,496.57, adding on to a 483-point gain Wednesday and Thursday.

Broader stock indicators were mixed. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.36, or 0.03 percent, to 1,260.68, and the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 29.52, or 1.28 percent, to 2,282.78.

Meanwhile, oil prices retreated after rising earlier in the session. A barrel of light, sweet crude fell 41 cents to settle at $128.88 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Google fell $52.12, or 9.8 percent, to $481.32 after it posted disappointing results late Thursday. Microsoft dropped $1.66, or 6 percent, to $25.86, while AMD fell 65 cents, or 12.3 percent, to $4.65.

Financial stocks were mixed. Merrill Lynch rose 18 cents to $30.91, after its wider-than-expected loss, while Citi added $1.38, or 7.7 percent, to $19.35 after its better-than-anticipated loss.

Mattel Inc. surged $2.38, or 13 percent, to $20.66 after the toy maker said its reported profit was cut in half, but still beat Wall Street expectations.

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