US stocks end volatile week on muted note

After strong gains on Thursday, markets failed on Friday to extend the rally. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - The Dow rose while the Nasdaq declined on Friday (May 21) as Wall Street closed out a volatile week on a mixed note marked by positive global growth expectations and continued inflation fears.

After three straight declines, major indices won strong gains on Thursday, but markets failed to extend the rally in Friday's muted session.

"Basically for the past year, stocks have rallied strongly on the idea that the economy will reopen," said Karl Haeling of LBBW. "Now we are shifting to a new phase where we have to evaluate how long lasting will this recovery be."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.4 per cent at 34,207.84.

The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 0.1 per cent to 4,155.86, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.5 per cent to 13,470.99.

Stocks opened higher following strong eurozone data, but weakened as the session continued.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said existing home sales posted their third consecutive monthly decline, falling 2.7 percent compared to March.

Analysts also pointed to lingering questions over inflation and the possibility of a sudden shift in Federal Reserve policy. A note from Charles Schwab investment bank described Fed uncertainty as "palpable, as signs of rising inflation figures continue to pour in."

Among individual companies, Apple fell 1.5 per cent after chief executive Tim Cook defended the company in a high-stakes trial challenging the company's tight control of its online marketplace.

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Cook's testimony caps the proceedings which opened earlier this month in which Apple is accused by video game developer Epic Games of abusing a monopoly on its marketplace through the creation of a "walled garden" that squeezes app makers.

Deere & Co. gained 1.4 per cent after reporting that quarterly earnings more than doubled on a 35 per cent jump in revenues. The farm equipment maker cited "strong market conditions and broad improvement across divisions and geographies."

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