(CNSNews.com) - Disappointing earnings reports trumped positive economic news on Friday, sending all three major markets down for the day and creating mixed results for the week.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 69.78 points to reach 9,721.94, which was up 47.26 points over the past five days. The Nasdaq Composite index dropped 37.78 points to 1,912.36, down 2.95 points since last Friday, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 10.77 points to 1,039.30, up 1.24 points for the week.
Economic indicators continued to be positive as the week drew to a close, with the Commerce Department reporting that housing starts climbed in September over the previous month, reaching the second-highest level of 2003.
In addition, the consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan came in at a higher level than analysts' expectations, rising to 89.4 in mid-October from 87.7 in September.
However, poor earnings reports released after the markets' close on Thursday caused investors to continue the profit taking that drove the Dow into negative territory yesterday.
While EBay, Inc., announced a 69 percent jump in profits, its weak forecast for 2004 earnings sent that stock down in trading on Friday.
Also failing to meet expectations were such Nasdaq companies as Sun Microsystems, Inc., and DoubleClick, Inc., both of which fell in the final session of the week.
"Companies not only have to do better, they have to guide higher," Neil Massa, equity trader at John Hancock Funds, told the Associated Press. "But earnings overall have been fine, and the economic numbers point to a recovery."
Overseas markets also ended the week with mixed results. Both Japan's Nikkei stock average and Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.1 percent in trading on Friday, while France's CAC-40 slipped 0.1 percent and Germany's DAX index fell 1.7 percent.
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