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U.S. stocks alternated between gains and losses Friday afternoon but were still set to end the week deeply in the red, highlighted by a potential six-day losing streak for the Nasdaq Composite.
As of 3:05 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 10.46 points, or 0.08%, to 13316.83, the S&P 500 dipped 4.47 points, or 0.30%, to 1428.48 and the Nasdaq Composite slumped 3.27 points, or 0.11%, to 3046.31
It has been a choppy week for Wall Street. The Nasdaq has closed in the red for five days in a row in its longest losing streak since July. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 barely snapped a four-day losing streak on Thursday. Both the S&P and the Dow are set to end the week lower by 1.5%, while the Nasdaq is headed for a 2.4% loss.
A new report on consumer sentiment from Reuters and the University of Michigan helped boost sentiment early in the day, but then that optimism faded.
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The gauge checked in at 83.1, up from a September reading of 78.3 and marking the highest reading since September 2007. Economists were expecting sentiment to fall to 78.
The Commerce Department said producer prices rose 1.1% in September from August, a bigger jump than the 0.7% expected, as energy prices swelled. Excluding the food and energy components, prices were flat, compared to expectations of a 0.2% gain.
Trading desks were also beginning to focus on third-quarter corporate earnings.
J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) kicked off earnings season for the banks with a beat.
The biggest U.S. bank by assets revealed third-quarter profits of $1.40 a share, compared to $1.02 a share in the same period in 2011. Sales came in at $25.9 billion excluding the impact of debt value adjustments. The figures topped estimates of earnings of $1.24 a share on revenues of $24.53 billion.
Wells Fargo (WFC) posted third-quarter earnings of 88 cents a share, topping Wall Street’s estimates by a penny. The bank’s sales came in at $21.2 billion, missing estimates of $21.47 billion.
Also in corporate news, chip maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) warned after the close of trading on Thursday that its sales are likely to have fallen 10% in the third quarter from the one before.
Oil prices closed lower, while gasoline prices tumbled. The benchmark crude contract traded in New York dropped 21 cents, or 0.23%, to $91.86 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline sold off by 2.9% to $2.869 a gallon.
In metals, gold skidded lower by $10.80, or 0.61%, to $1,758.00 a troy ounce.
The Euro Stoxx 50 dipped 0.72% to 2469, the English FTSE 100 slipped 0.62% to 5793 and the German DAX slumped 0.68% to 7232.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 drifted lower by 0.15% to 8534 and the Chinese Hang Seng rose 0.65% to 21136.