Stocks Mostly Down on Firday

U.S. stocks finished mostly lower  on Friday, with the S&P 500 managing to extend its winning streak into a fourth week, with Wall Street hopeful that Greece would reach a debt-restructuring agreement. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 74.17 points, or 0.58%, to 12,660.46, leaving it down 0.5% for the week, its first weekly drop in four. The S&P 500 shed 2.10 points, or 0.16%, to 1,316.33, but managed to remain 0.1% up from the week-ago close. The Nasdaq Composite added 11.27 points, or 0.40%, to 2,816.55, up 1.1% for the week.

Expectations that Greece and private creditors will reach agreement on a plan to cut the nation’s debt load were on the rise Friday as talks were set to continue in Athens.

The White House on Friday expanded a troubled program seeking to help borrowers on the verge of foreclosure, tripling incentive payments to investors who cut the amount owed by borrowers.

Fitch downgraded the sovereign credit ratings of Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, Slovenia and Spain on Friday, indicating there was a 1- in-2 chance of further cuts in the next two years. In a statement, the ratings agency said the affected countries were vulnerable in the near-term to monetary and financial shocks.

Facebook could file for its long-awaited initial public offering as early as Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.  The social-networking company is expected to pick Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS – News) as the lead underwriter for the IPO, the Journal said. The Wall Street bank has been the most popular choice among internet IPOs in recent years.

Crude-oil futures closed lower Friday after disappointing U.S. gross domestic product data raised fresh doubts about oil demandprospects. Crude-oil futures for March delivery ended 14 cents, or 0.1%, lower at $99.56 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.






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