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Technology heavyweight IBM dragged the Dow lower for the third day in a row, but the broad markets pushed higher.
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As of 2:00 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22.9 points, or 0.15%, to 14414, the S&P 500 rose 10.2 points, or 0.66%, to 1552 and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 35.5 points, or 1.1%, to 3202
The volatility on Wall Street has been extreme this week, with the CBOE's VIX, seen as Wall Street's fear gauge,surging nearly 27%. The broad S&P 500 shed 2.1% over the past two days on fears about corporate profits and the global economy.
The stream of business news slowed somewhat Friday, with no major economic releases on tap. However, there were still a slew of corporate earnings out.
General Electric (NYSE:GE) posted better-than-expected results on the top and bottom lines. However, shares of the Dow component slid in early trading. McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) revealed mixed results, beating on revenues, but missing on profits.
After the bell on Thursday, International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) posted disappointing results, sending its shares skidding more than 6%. The stock took more than 100 points off the Dow.
On the political front, finance ministers and central bankers were meeting on the day as part of the G20 meeting. Analysts broadly expected the group to reaffirm its push for using conventional and unconventional monetary methods to boost the world economy. Japan was in focus after the country's central bank said it is ready to do whatever it takes to boost inflation to 2%. The move has dramatically weakened the yen, and some critics have said it represents unfair currency manipulation.
Markets in Asia performed well overnight, with benchmark indexes in China surging more than 2% and Japan's Nikkei 225 rising 0.73%.
Oil prices were solidly higher. The benchmark U.S. crude oil contract climbed 66 cents, or 0.75%, to $88.38 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.45% to $2.768 a gallon. In metals, gold soared $15.80, or 1.1%, to $1,408 a troy ounce.
The Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.96% to 2579, the English FTSE 100 climbed 0.59% to 6281 and the German DAX rose 0.26% to 7495.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 gained 0.73% to 13316 and the Chinese Hang Seng rallied 2.3% to 22014.