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Stocks end mixed after trading in narrow range

Stocks ended on a mixed note at the close of a busy week of earnings news. The Dow finished slightly down, while the broader Standard and Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq both ended with gains.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Stocks ended on a mixed note Friday at the close of a busy week of earnings news. The Dow finished slightly down, while the broader Standard and Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq both ended with gains.

Stocks stayed within a narrow range as a recent rally built on strong earnings reports ran out of steam.

Friday's moves also appear to be held in check as investors turn their attention to a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Korea. The group is meeting as tensions grow over a brewing currency battle that could affect global trade.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 14.01, or 0.1 percent, to 11,132.56. The Standard and Poor's 500 index rose 2.82, or 0.2 percent, to 1,183.08, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 19.72, or 0.8 percent, to 2,479.39. Each index finished the week with gains.

Verizon shares dipped after it added its fewest number of overall subscribers in a decade and its profit fell. Regional bank KeyCorp couldn't hold onto early morning gains after it reported strong earnings growth as fewer customers defaulted on loans.

Manufacturer Honeywell International Inc. reported a profit that beat estimates, but it raised its earnings outlook to a level that still fell short of expectations. Its shares wavered throughout the day. Inc. and oil services company Schlumberger Ltd. were among the better performers following strong earnings reports. Online retailer Amazon shook off some early morning concerns about narrowing margins to climb higher. Schlumberger got a big lift from increased land-based drilling activities in the U.S. and Canada.

Shares of Hewlett-Packard rose 47 cents, or 1.1 percent, which made that company the top performing stock among the components of the Dow index. American Express, with its 3.1 percent drop, was the Dow's worst performer.

Bank of America Corp., whose shares fell 4.5 percent, was the Dow's laggard for the week. The North Carolina-based bank has lost ground since a group of institutional investors signaled that it may attempt to force the company to repurchase mortgage loans issued by one of its subsidiaries. Coca Cola Co., meanwhile, gained 2.7 percent to end the week as the best performing component of the Dow for the week.

The G-20 meeting of finance ministers is adding some caution to the market, which has been volatile throughout the week. Shares dropped early in the week because of global economic concerns before recovering in recent days following the string of earnings reports.

Finance ministers and central bank governors are meeting to discuss a growing trend of countries trying to devalue their currency to gain an advantage in the international marketplace.

"Everyone is trying to get out of the economic doldrums by exporting," said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank. "And everyone is trying to do it at one time."

There are worries that some countries, like China, are holding their currencies at artificially low levels. That gives them an advantage in exporting goods as the global economy slowly recovers from a deep recession.

The dollar rose slightly against other major currencies, but still remains near a 15-year low against Japan's yen. It's also near its lowest level of the year against the euro.

Consolidated trading volume on the New York Stock Exchange was light at 3.1 billion shares.