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U.S. stocks on Friday started higher, heading towards their first two-week stretch of gains since May 2008. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 27 points to 7,428. The S&P 500 rose a point to 785 while the Nasdaq Composite gained 6 points to 1,489. The financials opened higher, but quickly sold off. Citigroup is modestly higher on a management shake up. GE is lower by 3% under $10 a share again. Two analysts cut estimates on General Electric this morning. Morgan Stanley was upgraded, however, the stock is lower. American Express is lower by 2% due to a downgrade and concerns the dividend will get cut. The tech sector is holding in there. Palm is higher following less than stellar earnings. IBM continues to perform well. Corning is modestly higher following positive comments from an analyst at Collins Stewart. Research in Motion is higher on an upgrade. Xerox is down 11% after cutting their first quarter estimates. The retail sector has had a great run, but is trading lower today. Best Buy was upgrade, but the stock is lower as it seems to have run out of gas. J.Crew is down 8% on a downgrade. Nike is down for a second straight day following earnings on Wednesday. This morning, the shoe company announced cost cuts. Blockbuster is down 3% after reporting another quarterly loss. After the first hour, the averages were unchanged. The financials are succumbing to heavy selling. Through the morning, into the lunch hour, the averages remained quiet. The financials remain in the red. In the afternoon, the selling accelerated with the Dow dropping over 100 points. Very few stocks remain in the green. In the last hour, the averages tried to rebound, but sold back off into the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 122 points, or 1.7%, at 7,278, leaving the blue-chip index up 0.7% for the week. The S&P 500 fell 15 points, or 2%, to land at 768, up 1.5% from the week-ago close. The Nasdaq Composite shed 26 points, or 1.8%, to 1,457, leaving the technology-laden index up 1.8% from last Friday's close.
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