U.S. stocks opened modestly lower on Friday, with investors taking a breather after a two-day leap that took the Dow up 500 points thanks to solid earnings and encouraging developments out of Europe. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 17 points to 12,191, with 14 of its 30 components falling, led by Exxon Mobil and Chevron. The S&P 500 fell 4 points to 1,279. The Nasdaq Composite declined 5 points to 2,733. Following a day with plenty of news out of Europe and over 300 earnings reports today is much quieter. Stocks trading up following earnings this morning include NCR, KLA Tencor, QLogic, AMD, MetLife, Decker Outdoors, Sandisk, National Financial Partners, Arch Coal, Merck, Goodyear, and Biogen. A few stocks are trading lower following earnings including Cablevision, Chevron, Quality Systems, Dominion, and Coventry Health. The broader market is trading lower this morning, but not by much on light volume. The financials are acting much better. Goldman Sachs is higher after rallying 10% yesterday. Dick Bove upgraded the stock this morning. Bank of America is trading higher as well. MetLife is up 3% following earnings and an upgrade. Hartford is higher as well along with Aflac, Travelers, and Prudential. The commodities are perking up. Cliffs Natural Resources is jumping 4% even though they missed estimates. Agrium is trading higher while Potash is lower on a downgrade. Through the first hour the averages remained in the red, but not by much. Through the morning the averages perked up thanks to the financials. Into the afternoon the averages moved sideways mildly in the red. Anything less than a 1% decline is a good sign especially after yesterday's performance. In the last hour the major averages snuck back into the green to finish out the week. The Dow climbed 22 points to end at 12,231 for a fifth-straight weekly gain. The S&P 500 rose 50 cents to 1,285 while the Nasdaq Composite slipped a point to 2,737, with both indexes ending up 3.8% higher for the week.
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