Google saved Friday's session. The online portal posted powerhouse earnings that exceeded already high expectations, overshadowing weak results from Advanced Micro Devices and lifting technology shares. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.8 percent in contrast to the Dow industrials which lost 0.6 percent.
Gold was a big mover, up 5% at just over $900 in late electronic trading. Front page news on the Obama administration's stimulus plan is reminding investors that inflation pressures will once again be a concern. The gain in gold is being made despite strength in the dollar, raising hope among gold bugs that safe-haven demand for the dollar won't come at the expense of gold. The dollar firmed slightly in the session to end at $1.2986 against the euro.
The energy markets are stunned by how bloated inventories have become. Yet oil rose on the day, up 7% to $45.81. An explanation is difficult but there is talk that Saudi output cuts will begin to cut into supply by mid-February.