U.S. stocks bounced back and forth Friday before ending with a loss. Concerns over European banks and fears that the United States would fall into another recession kept volatility high.
The manager of PIMCO, the world’s largest bond fund, said the rally in Treasury yields to 60-year lows suggests a recession is likely.
“They certainly reflect in terms of their yields, not only the potential for a recession, but the almost high probability of a recession and the resultant lowering of inflation.”
Investors and traders have been on edge for weeks. Morningstar’s Sumit Desai blames much of the uncertainty on Washington’s lack of direction.
“A little more clarity on where spending cuts will appear, where tax cuts will fall I think would help ease some uncertainty in the market.”
Adding to uncertainty Friday was Hewlett-Packard’s weaker outlook and corporate shakeup. HP shares fell 20% and were the biggest drag on the Dow.
But there’s a positive side to the big drop in stock prices: It creates buying opportunities.
“Now is an excellent opportunity to really start looking for high-quality companies that are trading at pretty, fire-sale prices.”
Gold was the winner Friday, as investors continued to seek the safety of the precious metal. It reached a record high of $1,881 an ounce, but closed at $1,852.
In Europe, stocks ended the week firmly in the red, as banks fell to a two-year low.
On Wall Street, the Dow lost 172 points and the Nasdaq fell 38. That brings the losses for the week to 4% on the Dow and nearly 7% for the Nasdaq.
Bottom line: Crisis of confidence sends Wall Street down for the fourth straight week. HP was the biggest drag on the Dow and gold reached a record $1,881 an ounce. But with stock prices so low, this is an opportunity to buy shares for dirt-cheap.