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U.S. stocks bounce on the open even though the economic data gets worse. The Labor Department reported 651,000 lost jobs in February while unemployment hit a 25-year high of 8.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial gained 52 points to 6,646. The S&P 500 Index climbed 5 points to 687 while the Nasdaq Composite added 6 points to 1,305. The financials are higher bouncing on the bad news. Wells Fargo did what everyone expected, cutting their dividend to preserve cash. The stock is up 13%, but down 75% since October. Bank of America is higher even though they keep finding more losses at Merrill Lynch. Unbelieveable. H&R Block is higher after reporting a profit. Within the first half an hour, the Dow surged 150 points. The Nasdaq and the techs are higher, but only by 15 points. Marvell Tech easily beat estimates. Apple is lower thanks to a downgrade at JP Morgan. The retailers are higher except for AnnTaylor. AnnTaylor is down 18% on a much wider quarterly loss. Speaking of losing money, a WallStreet Journal article implied that GM is more open to a bankrupcty filing. I think it's inevitable. After the first half an hour, the rally fizzled led by the techs. After the first hour, the rally was completely gone. The techs are moving lower. The financials have given up their gains. Through the morning and into the afternoon, the averages remained weak. AnnTaylor is now down 30%. The financials are making new lows. JP Morgan is down 9% to a new low. US Bancorp is down 6.5% to a new low. American Express is down 5% to a new low. Goldman Sachs is down 8%. Ugly. Entering the last hour, the averages were breaking down to new lows. The Dow dropped over 100 points below 6500. The Nasdaq declined 28 points. In the last hour, the averages actually recovered into the close thanks to some short covering. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 32 points at 6,626. The S&P 500 closed up 80 cents at 683. The Nasdaq Composite pared its losses and ended down 5 points at 1,293. The S&P 500 lost 7% for the week, while the Dow and Nasdaq slid about 6%. Just an average week.
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