NEW YORK - Stocks ended mixed but mostly higher Friday, with Caterpillar Inc.'s lackluster results dragging down the Dow Jones industrials while strong earnings from Google Inc. led a broader rally on the market.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow fell 65.88, or 0.64 percent, to 10,215.22, after sinking almost 90 points in morning activity. Meanwhile, the broader stock indicators advanced. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 1.79, or 0.15 percent, to 1,179.59, and the Nasdaq composite index jumped 14.1, or 0.68 percent, to 2,082.21.
Friday's skittish session closed out a turbulent week for Wall Street as troubling economic data renewed fears about inflation, overshadowing mostly positive third-quarter profit reports from the nation's biggest companies. Investors scouring for signs of the market's direction sent the Dow climbing more than 100 points Wednesday, but took back the gains a day later.
Although corporate earnings have so far been favorable, the market is still battling three major headwinds - rising interest rates, inflation and high energy prices, said Michael Sheldon, chief investment strategist at Spencer Clarke LLC.
"Right now, I think the market needs a catalyst in order to get out of this difficult environment," Sheldon said. "Hopefully if oil prices continue to decline and move back into the mid $50s, that could turn sentiment more positive on Wall Street."