A mixed Friday, but stocks up for the week

By Alexandra Twin, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks closed mixed Friday, ending another up week, as investors considered the Greek bailout package, reports of a naval conflict between North and South Korea and a weaker U.S. dollar.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) added a few points. The S&P 500 index (SPX) was little changed. The Nasdaq composite (COMP) lost a few points.

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Stocks rose through the early afternoon after European leaders agreed to a bailout package for Greece and other debt-plagued euro zone nations, cooling fears of a default that would roil global markets. The Greece news overshadowed a report that showed the economy grew at a slower pace than initially thought in the fourth quarter of last year.

But reports of a conflict between North and South Korea may have caused some stock selling. Reports said an explosion tore a hole in a South Korean vessel in the disputed waters near North Korea, and South Korean officials were investigating whether it was an attack from the North.

However, the market may have been primed for a pullback anyway after having hit 18-month highs on Wednesday.

The Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 have all risen in six of the last seven weeks.

Dollar drops on Greek aid package: Worries that Greece might default on its debt and kick off a broader debt crisis in Europe have dragged on the euro, leaving it at a 10-month low versus the dollar earlier this week. But news of the bailout lifted the European currency.

The dollar's weakness versus both the euro and yen Friday gave a boost to dollar-traded commodity stocks, such as Chevron (CVX, Fortune 500) and Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500), the Dow's biggest gainers Friday.

Big multinational stocks that do a lot of business overseas also rose, as tends to be the case when the dollar is weaker.

Financial shares were also among the day's gainers, with JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500), Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) and Travelers (TRV, Fortune 500) rising on the Dow.

But Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) and other select technology shares were weaker, dragging on the Nasdaq.

Stocks ended little changed Thursday as a late-session bounce in the dollar sapped the strength out of a rally that had pushed the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq near new 18-month highs.

However, the trend has been largely to the upside over the last few weeks, with the Dow industrials nearing 11,000, a key psychological level.

Greece: The European Union and the International Monetary Fund agreed to a joint program that would make cheap loans available should Greece or other euro zone nations be unable to raise them on their own.

The deal, reached at the European Union summit in Brussels, would involve euro zone nations setting aside funds based on their GDP and population, meaning Germany will fund the biggest portion of the bill. The IMF will also contribute.

Greece said at the end of last year that its budget deficit was 12.7% of its GDP, far beyond the 3% that the EU allows. The country has announced plans to cut costs - including lowering government salaries and raising the retirement age - but has had trouble paying off its debts and securing additional financing.

Economy: Fourth-quarter gross domestic product growth was revised down to an annual rate of 5.6% from the previously reported 5.9%, the government reported Friday morning. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com thought GDP growth would hold steady at 5.9%.

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment rose to 73.6 in March from 72.5 earlier in the month. Economists thought it would rise to 73, on average.

Twenty-seven states reported rising unemployment rates in February, down from 30 states in January, according to state-by-state unemployment figures released Friday morning.

Company news: After the close Thursday, Oracle (ORCL, Fortune 500) reported weaker earnings that beat forecasts and higher revenue that also topped expectations. Shares slipped 1.3% Friday.

Research in Motion (RIMM) rose after JPMorgan Chase reportedly upgraded the stock, saying that 2010 will see a broad adoption of mobile computers. Palm (PALM) rose in tandem.

Market breadth was positive. On the New York Stock Exchange, winners edged losers by a narrow margin on volume of 1.025 billion shares. On the Nasdaq, decliners topped advancers by a slim margin on volume of 2.26 billion shares.

Commodities: U.S. light crude oil for May delivery fell 53 cents to settle at $80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

COMEX gold for May delivery rose $11.30 to settle at $1,105.40 per ounce.

Bonds: Treasury prices rose, lowering the yield on the 10-year note to 3.89% from 3.90% late Thursday. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

World markets: In overseas trading, European markets fell. London's FTSE lost 0.4%, France's CAC 40 slipped 0.3% and Germany's DAX eased 0.2%. Asian markets ended higher, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng index up 1.3% and Japan's Nikkei index up 1.6%. To top of page

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