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U.S. Stock Indexes Close With Weekly Gains

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks on Friday pulled off a late-session turnaround, with financials paving the way higher, and only the Nasdaq Composite ending in the red in the wake of software giant Microsoft Corp.'s profit drop.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 42.91 points, or 0.3%, to 12,891.86, giving it a 0.4% gain on the week.

Of the blue chip index's 30 components, 18 ended in positive turf, with the advance led by American Express Co. , up 5.7% after the credit card giant on Thursday reported a less-than-forecast first-quarter profit drop.

Blue-chip losses were led by Microsoft, off 6.2%, in the wake of its earnings report Thursday, in which the company reported an 11% profit drop on virtually flat revenue. .

The S&P 500 added 9.02 points, or 0.7%, to 1,397.84, leaving it 0.5% higher on the week, while the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite declined 5.99 points, or 0.3%, to 2,422.93, up 0.8% from last Friday.

Materials led S&P sector gains, rising 2.4%, followed by energy, which gained 1.8%. Information technology and consumer staples led sector declines, both down about 0.2%.

Crude-oil futures spiked more than $2 a barrel on news reports of a U.S. cargo ship firing at two unidentified boats in the Persian Gulf, with crude for June delivery gaining $2.46 to end at $118.52 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. .

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange topped 3.8 billion, with declining stocks edging ahead of those advancing nearly 2 to 1. On the Nasdaq, nearly 2 billion shares exchanged hands, and advancers topped decliners 5 to 4.

Bottom's up?

Stock indexes sank after data from the University of Michigan/Reuters showed the U.S. consumer sentiment index fell to 62.6 in April, from 69.5 in March. .

"Consumer confidence is as bad as it's been since 1982 -- I'm losing confidence as well every time I put $90 of gas in my Jeep to get to work," said Art Hogan, chief market economist at Jefferies & Co.

But the confidence data were to be expected, with obvious reasons behind it, said Hogan. "It's just another bell to ring at the bottom," said Hogan.

Friday's more active stocks included shares of Ericsson AB , which rallied 13.5%, after the world's largest maker of mobile networks posted surprisingly strong first-quarter results. . Inc. advanced 6.4% after it reported first-quarter net income soared 71%.

In overseas trade, Asian markets ended on a mixed note , while European shares ended higher for a third day straight. .

By Kate Gibson

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