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The close: S&P 500 gains, but records worst week of 2013

Stocks and key commodities rose on Friday, but not enough to erase the damage from a tumultuous week.

The S&P 500 closed at 1,555.25, up 13.64 points, or 0.9 per cent. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average closed at 14,547.51, up 10.37 points or less than 0.1 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,065.55, up 69.21 points, or 0.6 per cent.

The moves end a week that saw the biggest one-day and full-week declines of 2013, not to mention the biggest decline by gold in some 30 years as the precious metal fell deeper into a bear market.

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For the week, the S&P 500 fell 2.1 per cent, for its worst weekly performance since November. It has now fallen 2.4 per cent from its record high of last week.

Earnings news dominated moves on Friday. International Business Machines Corp. – the largest-weighted stock within the Dow because of its hefty share price – fell 8.3 per cent after it reported quarterly earnings that missed expectations. That marked its first earnings miss since 2005, according to Bloomberg News. Sales fell 2.3 per cent.

General Electric Co. fell 4.1 per cent after its earnings matched expectations.

Microsoft Corp. rose 3.3 per cent after its earnings topped expectations, with the strength of long-term software licenses overcoming concerns about the impact of falling PC sales.

Within the S&P 500, economically defensive areas showed the biggest gains. Telecom stocks rose 1.7 per cent, consumer staples rose 1.6 per cent and health care and utilities rose 1.5 per cent each.

According to Bloomberg, 72 per cent of the 103 companies within the S&P 500 that have reported so far this earnings season have beaten expectations.

However Bespoke Investment Group looked at a broader group of stocks and found that just 44 per cent had beaten revenue expectations – suggesting that companies are having a difficult time expanding their sales in a sluggish economy.

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Among key commodities, gold rose to $1,400.80 (U.S.) an ounce, up $8.30 for its fourth straight gain – but still down about $80 for the week due to Monday's 9.1 per cent drop. Crude oil rose to $87.89 a barrel, up 16 cents.

Barrick Gold Corp. rose 1.1 per cent, even as a number of large institutional investors balked over the company's $11.9-million signing bonus to co-chairman John Thornton.

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About the Author
Investing Reporter

David Berman has been writing about business and investing since 1995. He has written for a number of magazines, including Canadian Business and MoneySense. He worked at the Financial Post as an investing writer and daily columnist before moving to the Globe and Mail in 2008. More


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