US stocks end wild week with a relative whimper

U.S. stocks on Friday closed out a wild week that saw stomach-churning gains and losses as investors weighed an array of concerns. Major averages snapped a three-week losing streak but remain down for the month.

Investors moved cautiously Friday as volatililty has been one of the consistent features of markets lately. The VIX index, which tracks the volatility of the equity markets, remained at a multi-month high of nearly 30.

Among concerns weighing on investors were fears of more interest rate hikes, worries about global economic growth, prospects for continued U.S.-China trade conflict, a partial government shutdown and turmoil in the Trump administration.

Volume was low, and computer-driven trades accounted for about 85 percent of the day's trades.

Compared to the closing numbers earlier this week, Friday's averages settled in relatively quiet fashion.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 39069.59 +4.33 +0.01%
SP500 S&P 500 5304.72 +36.88 +0.70%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 16920.794392 +184.76 +1.10%

While all three major averages, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite, were up for the week, they are all down more than 9 percent so far this month, which  has only one more trading day in it.

Friday's action followed Thursday's session in which stocks posted a stunning late-session rebound that saw a 865-point swing in the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Crude oil prices edged up on Friday: West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 1.41 percent to $45.24. For the year, oil is down nearly 25 percent.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped Friday to 2.74 percent.

On Thursday, the Dow had been down in mid-afternoon more than 500 points to cut the previous session's gains in half, before bargain hunters and short covering -- in the final two hours of trading -- turned a big decline into a modest gain.

The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq on Thursday all posted their largest two-day percentage gains since Aug. 27, 2015.

The late-session rebound Thursday energized stock markets outside the U.S. on Friday. In European trading, London’s FTSE gained 2.2 percent, Germany’s DAX added 1.7 percent and France’s CAC was up 1.9 percent.

Most Asian markets finished up trading for the year.

China’s Shanghai Composite index ended the day up 0.4 percent. The Shanghai index lost 24.6 percent for the year.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended the day up 0.1 percent. The Hang Sang will trade for  half a day on Monday.

Japan’s Nikkei finished the session down 0.3 percent and declined 12 percent for the year. It was the Nikkei’s first annual decline since 2011.