A robust week for stocks ends mixed
NEW YORK — Investors are betting that a resurgent rally will continue. Stocks ended little changed Friday but held onto an enormous rally for the week. Investors are looking to another flood of corporate earnings reports next week to provide more signs that the economy is healing.
The Dow Jones industrials and the Standard & Poor's 500 index posted their best weekly performance since the week ending March 13, when the market's spring rally began. All the major stock indexes rose about 7 percent for the week.
Solid results from Goldman Sachs and Intel spurred buying early in the week. But not all of the results Friday were strong, holding the market in place.
On Friday, Bank of America and Citigroup became the latest banks to report big profits but also weakness in their loan portfolios.
GE's earnings cut almost in half
NEW YORK — General Electric Co.'s second-quarter profit was sliced nearly in half, the company said Friday, as the recession drove down earnings at its finance unit and smothered demand for its wide-ranging industrial goods.
Although earnings beat Wall Street forecasts by a penny, GE's revenue fell $3 billion short of expectations. Quarterly sales fell across its divisions, from health care to broadcasting, suggesting that the recession is still sapping demand for goods and services.
That was bad news for the nation's economic health since GE's businesses touch nearly all facets of the economy and investors were hoping sales would show flashes of strength.
The company also is retreating from a more optimistic outlook for its industrial businesses. GE reported second-quarter net income of $2.6 billion. Revenue fell 17 percent to $39.1 billion.
Tax break aids new home construction
WASHINGTON — Construction of new U.S. homes rose in June to the highest level in seven months as builders rushed to pour foundations for homes that must be completed by the end of November for first-time buyers to take advantage of a special tax break.
The Commerce Department said Friday that construction of new homes and apartments jumped 3.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 582,000 units, from an upwardly revised rate of 562,000 in May.
It was better than the 530,000-unit pace economists expected, and was the second straight monthly increase after April's record low of 479,000 units.
"This was the most positive housing report in ages," wrote Patrick Newport, an economist with IHS Global Insight.
Eddie Bauer sold in bankruptcy deal
SEATTLE — San Francisco private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital won a bankruptcy court auction for Eddie Bauer's assets and plans to keep most of its stores and employees, the retailer said Friday.
Golden Gate's all-cash bid of $286 million will be presented to the court for approval Wednesday.
Eddie Bauer filed for bankruptcy protection last month. Founded in 1920 in Seattle, the chain has about 370 stores in North America, including one at Tanger Outlet Center in North Charleston. It employs about 8,600 workers.