Stocks Finish Mixed

A robust earnings report from Google lifted tech stocks, but Caterpillar's weak outlook hurt blue chips

Stocks finished mixed on Friday, as a robust earnings report from Google (GOOG ) boosted the tech sector but a weak outlook from Caterpillar (CAT ) hurt blue chips. Trading was volatile, reflecting a lack of consensus about the near-term outlook and activity related to the monthly options expiration, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 65.88 points, or 0.64%, to 10,215.22. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 1.79 points, or 0.15%, to 1,179.59. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 14.1 points, or 0.68%, to 2,082.21.

In the energy markets, December West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 61 cents to $60.63 a barrel. End of week short covering was the driver on Friday, following steep losses posted through much of the week, says Action Economics. Meanwhile, Hurricane Wilma, a slow-moving Category 4 storm, pummeled the island of Cozumel and could strike Florida this weekend, according to news reports.

Google (GOOG ) shares jumped after the online search outfit posted a jump in profits after the market close Thursday. Earnings for the quarter were $1.32 per share, vs. 19 cents a year ago, while revenue surged 96% to $1.58 billion.

However, the Dow average was held down by Caterpillar (CAT ), which lowered its 2005 earnings projection.

Elsewhere on the earnings calendar, Xilinx (XLNX ) posted second-quarter earnings per share of 24 cents, the same as a year ago, on a slight revenue decline. The chip maker says turns business was weaker than anticipated in September, and it sees a 1%-5% sequential revenue rise in its third quarter.

With an empty economic calendar Friday, traders were looking ahead to next week. The next round of reports include September durable goods, third-quarter employment cost index, and advance third-quarter gross domestic product, all near the end of the week.

Companies on next week's busy earnings calendar include Merck (MRK ), Texas Instruments (TXN ), BellSouth (BLS ), Microsoft (MSFT ), Verizon (VZ ), and more.

Treasury Market

Treasury prices rose, with the 10-year note yield dropping to 4.39% on some program buying after breaking through the 98-19/32 resistance level, reports Standard & Poor's MarketScope. The market was also influenced by expiring options on futures and curve flatteners.

World Markets

European stock markets finished lower on Friday. London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index was down 22 points, or 0.43%, at 5,142.1.

Germany's DAX index fell 25.85 points, or 0.53%, to 4,838.4. In Paris, the CAC 40 index lost 24.14 points, or 0.55%, to 4,366.52.

Asian markets finished higher. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index rose 9.49 points, or 0.07%, to 13,199.95. The drop on Wall Street, just a day after an enthusiastic rally, kept sentiment cautious, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 78.91 points, or 0.55%, to 14,487.85. Bargain hunters came in after the market suffered steep losses Thursday, and so far this month, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

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