Stocks End Mixed as US Data Offers Hope

U.S. stocks finished mixed on Friday  as Wall Street was torn between hope that U.S. economic data points to better times ahead and fear Europe’s debt crisis will engulf major world economies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.42 points, or less than 0.1%, to 11,866.39. The S&P 500 added 3.89 points, or 0.32%, to 1,219.66. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 14.32 points, or 0.56%, to 2,555.33.

The Fitch ratings agency affirmed France’s top Triple-A credit rating on Friday, but warned it could downgrade six other nations that also use the euro — Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia and Cyprus.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has brought civil actions against six former top executives at the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying that the executives did not adequately disclose their firms’ exposure to risky mortgages in the run- up to the financial crisis.

Crude-oil futures fell Friday, capping a week of steep losses as investors stayed away from oil ahead of the weekend and its potential for uncertainty about the euro zone. Crude for January delivery declined 34 cents, or 0.4%, to $93.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold futures ended higher Friday, recovering some of the week’s heavy losses and breaking a four-day losing streak, as fire-sale prices enticed buyers. Gold for February delivery rose $20.70 an ounce, or 1.3%, to $1,597.90 on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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