During the market’s wildest day in recent memory, the Dow Jones industrial average swung 416.41 points from its session high of to its intraday low, before finally closing the day with marginal gains in the last hour of trading. The S&P 500 also covered 50.02 points from peak to bottom, before finally ending the day lower, this despite a U.S. Labor Department report that said the country’s economy generated 117,000 jobs in July.
At closing bell, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 60.93 points, or 0.5 percent, at 11,444.61, while the Standard and Poor’s 500 index fell 0.69 point, or 0.1 percent, at 1,199.38 and the Nasdaq composite lost 23.98, or 0.9 percent, at 2,532.41.
Commodities were relatively stable. Crude oil rose 25 cents a barrel to $86.88, while gold fell $7.20 an ounce to $1,651.80.
For the week, the Dow fell 5.8 percent, losing nearly 1000 points after plummeting over 500 points Thursday. The S&P 500 was down 7.2 percent and the Nasdaq was off 8.1 percent, closing a trading week that saw all three indexes showing their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis
Fears over a slowdown in the U.S. economy and increasing economic turmoil in Europe have rattled investor confidence.
In Europe, debt problems are spreading, threatening the both the Italian and Spanish economies. In the U.S, a possible debt default was averted earlier this week, but concerns remain. Chief among them, less spending by consumers, which is leading to lackluster growth by both manufacturing and service companies and too few new jobs to lower the unemployment rate significantly.
Investors also worry that the federal government is more likely to hurt the economy than help it. Instead of more spending, the government is trying to reduce its budget deficits by spending less.
Speaking Friday, President Obama said his administration remains focused on lowering the nation’s unemployment rate as the 2012 election approaches.
“We have to create more jobs than that each month to make up for the more than eight million jobs that the recession claimed,” said Obama. “We need to create a self-sustaining cycle, where people are spending, and companies are hiring, and our economy is growing. And we have known that will take some time.”