NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
The major indexes ended a tumultuous session in the red Friday, however mid-week gains were sufficient to push the Dow and the Nasdaq higher for the week, after a two-week slump.
Next week will be largely focused on the March payrolls report, due Friday, and end-of-quarter adjustments through Wednesday.
On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average (down 5.85 to 10212.97, Charts) and the Standard & Poor's 500 (down 1.13 to 1108.06, Charts) index both closed just below unchanged, while the Nasdaq composite (down 7.15 to 1960.02, Charts) closed around 0.35 percent lower. Bond prices tanked and the dollar was mixed.
The major indexes rallied sharply Thursday, snapping back after a two-week selloff that took them to lows not seen since November and December of last year.
But the rally may have been a bout of short-covering after the pullback, rather than the next stage in the bull market, analysts said. It proved to be unsustainable Friday. Although on an up note, the market did manage to hold on to most of Thursday's gains.
For the week, the Dow gained 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq gained 1 percent. The S&P 500 lost 0.1 percent.
"Recent indications show the economy is improving, and we're approaching the end of the quarter, which means you're going to see portfolio managers adjusting their positions through Wednesday," said Peter Cardillo, chief market analyst at S.W. Bach. "We're also coming off very oversold conditions."
He says this could help push the market higher in the short term, however, there is a great deal of data due out next week that the market will have to sort through before the start of the quarterly earnings reporting period, which kicks off in earnest the week of April 5.
There are no economic reports scheduled for Monday, but Tuesday brings the Conference Board's consumer confidence index. The index is thought to have dipped to a read of 86.0 in March from 87.3 in February, economists surveyed by Briefing.com expect.
However, the week's biggest news is Friday's monthly labor market report. Employers are expected to have added 100,000 new jobs to their payrolls in March, up from 21,000 last month. The unemployment rate is though to hold steady at 5.6 percent, according to Briefing.com estimates.
No market moving earnings are due Monday, but a few trickle in throughout the week, including Best Buy (BBY: Research, Estimates) and Circuit City (CC: Research, Estimates) on Wednesday.
Some of the stocks and sectors that led the rally Thursday were subjected to a bit of profit taking Friday, including semiconductors. Intel (INTC: down $0.41 to $27.38, Research, Estimates) lost 1.5 percent and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD: down $0.36 to $15.51, Research, Estimates) lost 2.3 percent.
Among other movers, Myogen (MYOG: down $5.54 to $10.50, Research, Estimates) plunged 34.5 percent after the biotech reported its experimental treatment for patients with advanced heart failure missed its main goal in a late-stage trial.
Albertson's (ABS: down $0.78 to $21.88, Research, Estimates) fell 3.4 percent after the grocery retailer agreed to buy the U.S. supermarket business of Britain's J Sainsbury PLC for about $2.11 billion in cash plus about $368 million of capital-lease assumption. The unit operates under the names Shaw's and Star Markets, with locations throughout New England.
Shares of Dow component General Electric (GE: up $0.40 to $30.10, Research, Estimates) rose 1.3 percent after Merrill Lynch added it to its Focus 1 list.
Fridays economic news was mixed and gave investors little incentive to do much with stocks. Personal income rose 0.4 percent after rising an upwardly revised 0.3 percent in January. Economists expected it to rise 0.3 percent. Spending rose 0.2 percent after rising an upwardly revised 0.5 percent last month. Economists expected it to rise 0.5 percent.
Separately, the final reading of the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose to 95.8 in March from 94.4 in February, a surprise gain where economists had been looking for a minor decline.
The surprisingly strong Michigan consumer sentiment reading sent Treasury prices lower and yields higher. The 10-year note lost 25/32 of a point for a yield of 3.83 percent from 3.74 percent late Thursday. The dollar edged lower versus the yen and slightly higher versus the euro.
Among commodities markets, NYMEX light sweet crude oil futures added 22 cents to settle at $35.73 a barrel. COMEX gold rallied $5.30 to settle at $423.20 an ounce.
Market breadth was slightly positive. Gainers beat losers by a narrow margin on the New York Stock Exchange, while on the Nasdaq, decliners and advancers were pretty evenly split. Volume was relatively light. On the NYSE around 1.31 billion shares traded, while on the Nasdaq, 1.55 billion shares changed hands.