Stocks: Worst week since financial crisis

August 5, 2011: 4:55 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- It was a wild ride on Wall Street.

Stocks ended Friday on a mixed note after violently whipsawing throughout the day. The Dow had a massive trading range of 400 points as investors scrambled to make sense of a whirlwind of news.

Deep investor concerns about the U.S. economy and the European debt crisis caused heavy damage to U.S. stocks this week. All three indexes had their worst week since the darkest months of the 2008-09 financial crisis.

The Dow Jones industrial average (DJIA) rose 61 points, or 0.5%, to close at 11,445. The Dow at one point was down nearly 240 points.

The blue chips were lifted by shares of Kraft (KFT, Fortune 500) and Procter & Gamble (PG, Fortune 500), while the biggest drag on the Dow were shares of Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), which fell more than 7%.

The S&P 500 (INX) fell less than a point, or 0.1%; to 1,199; and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) slid 24 points, or 1%, to 2,532.

The Dow fell nearly 6% for the week, the S&P 500 lost 7% and the Nasdaq dropped 8%. It was the worst week for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq on a percentage basis since November 2008 and the worst week for the Dow since March 2009.

Stocks started Friday's session sharply higher after investors got a strong U.S. jobs report. But the rally had little fuel, with the major indexes turning sharply lower as fears about Europe's escalating debt problems quickly dampened any early enthusiasm.

"The jobs report was modestly reassuring," said Bruce McCain, chief market strategist with Key Private Bank. "But it's been the heightened concerns over Europe that has dominated trading today."

Italy is quickly becoming the latest domino to potentially fall in the eurozone, with many investors worrying that the eurozone's third-largest economy may be too large to save.

Young investors stay put amid turmoil

Stocks found some support after the European Central Bank said it agreed to buy Italian bonds in exchange for massive budget cuts. But traders said investors were reluctant to hold stocks going into the weekend.

"The crisis in Europe is continuing to unfold and while I suspect Europe's debt story will not have a good ending, it's not clear how many more chapters this book has," McCain said.

It's clear that fear is still dominating sentiment. Wall Street's "fear" gauge -- the VIX (VIX) -- jumped to a reading of 32.05 in late-afternoon trading. Anything above 30 indicates a heightened sense of fear.

Choppy waters ahead - StockTwits

Stocks plunged Thursday, with the Dow tumbling 512 points. It was the steepest point loss since October 2008 -- as fear about the global economy spooked investors.

All three major indexes have erased their gains for the year and now are deep into "correction" territory -- defined as a 10% drop from recent highs. And while Wall Street took a hammering the past few weeks, stocks remain well above their March 2009 lows.

World markets: European stocks sank yet again on Friday before Italy's debt deal was announced. Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) fell 2.7%, the DAX (DAX) in Germany slipped 2.7%, while France's CAC 40 (CAC40) was down 1.3%.

Asian markets ended the session deep in the red follow Thursday's big selloff in U.S. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) lost 2.2%, the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong plunged 4.3% and Japan's Nikkei (N225) lost 3.7%.

Commodities and currencies: The dollar rose against the euro, the Japanese yen and British pound.

The greenback also rose for a third straight session against the Swiss franc, following the Swiss National Bank's intervention in the currency market earlier this week.

Gold futures for December delivery gained $3 .to $1,662.60 an ounce Friday, while oil for September delivery added 25 cents to $86.88 a barrel.

Regaining faith in U.S. but not the economy

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 2.56% from 2.46% late Thursday.

Companies: Shares of Procter & Gamble (PG, Fortune 500) rose 2%, after the Dow component posted earnings and sales that were ahead of expectations. The company also warned that results for the current quarter would fall short of estimates.

Priceline.com (PCLN) shares jumped 9%, following the online travel site's better-than-expected earnings and a strong outlook for the rest of the year. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,979.13 59.54 0.35%
Nasdaq 4,526.48 -1.03 -0.02%
S&P 500 1,986.51 4.91 0.25%
Treasuries 2.43 0.02 0.87%
Data as of 8:10am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.52 0.07 0.45%
Apple Inc 100.57 0.04 0.04%
General Electric Co 26.36 0.31 1.19%
Intel Corp 34.50 0.16 0.47%
Staples Inc 11.32 -0.30 -2.62%
Data as of Aug 20
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
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15 yr fixed3.23%3.21%
5/1 ARM3.37%3.37%
30 yr refi4.19%4.36%
15 yr refi3.18%3.17%
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