- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wall Street closed mixed Friday, boosted in part by Google’s hefty earnings but dragged down by transports and forecasts of unfavorable reports from the industrial sector next week because of the global recession.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 45.24, or 0.56 percent, to 8,077.56. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 11.80, or 0.81 percent, to 1,477.29. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 eked out an increase of 4.45, or 0.54 percent, to 831.95.

The market rallied by mid-session after opening lower because of strength in commodities, technology and financial stocks, with the Dow rebounding from a dip below 8,000. The tech stocks got a boost from Google, which reported Thursday it earned $5.10 a share during the fourth quarter, besting the $4.95 expected by analysts.

Light, sweet crude oil, which was down at the open, spiked later in the day to close at $45.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up $2.30.

Financial stocks, which generally have dragged down the markets since the beginning of the year because of concerns about whether some of the banks can make it through the worsening recession, held their own. Fully 25 percent of the financial stocks have fallen 75 percent or more in the past year, CNBC said.

The financials have completed reporting their earnings for the final three months of 2008. But bleak news lay on the horizon because profits from the industrial sector, which reports next week, are likely to be down, a result of the recession worldwide.

The transports component of the Dow dropped 5.8 percent because of the slowdown in the use of railroads, again because of the recession.

Harley-Davidson Inc., maker of what perhaps is America’s favorite motorcycle, said it will cut 1,100 jobs over two years, consolidate two engine and transmission factories in Milwaukee into its facility in Menomonee, Wis., and cut back its paint and frame operations in York, Pa., because of a sales slowdown.

Xerox Corp. said its fourth-quarter earnings fell to $265 million, or 30 cents a share, from a $382 million profit, or 41 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected the copier maker to post a 34-cent profit, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

Xerox announced last year it would cut 3,000 jobs to save $200 million a year.

General Electric Co. reported fourth-quarter earnings of $3.65 billion, or 35 cents a share, that were in line with analysts’ expectations. But those profits were off 46 percent, in part because of $1.5 billion in restructuring charges for its lending arm.

GE shares dropped nearly 11 percent to $12.02 Friday.


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