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Markets: a battered stock market recovered from a sharp drop in late trading Friday but still posted its fourth straight weekly drop.

Markets: A battered stock market recovered from a sharp drop in late trading Friday but still posted its fourth straight weekly drop. The Dow Jones industrials, down nearly 170 points in afternoon trading, clawed their way back and finished with a gain of 10. But more stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange as investors contended with another series of troubling signals about the global economy. Investors are concerned that European governments will have trouble getting their massive deficits under control. The Labor Department, meanwhile, offered only modest hope of improvement in the jobs market in its closely watched monthly report. "Clearly we've entered the worry, fear camp," said Rob Lutts, president and chief investment officer at Cabot Money Management. "It's a very fragile investor psychology today. It doesn't take much to send them running for the hills." The late-day comeback appeared to be partly due to the Federal Reserve's announcement that consumers borrowed less for an 11th straight month in December. But the drop of $1.8 billion was far less than the decrease of $9 billion analysts forecast. That fueled hopes that consumer spending will increase.

But for the second straight day, there was unsettling economic news. On Thursday, the Dow fell 268 on growing worries about the global economy. The U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly fell in January to 9.7% from 10%, the government reported. At the same time, however, employers cut 20,000 jobs, more than the gain of 5,000 economists predicted. The two numbers are calculated from different surveys. Timothy Speiss, head of Eisner LLP's Personal Wealth Advisors group, said the improving unemployment rate was a good sign, but that investors are well aware that other problems exist in the world's economies. The jobs report came as more troubling news emerged in Europe that Portugal and other weak economies were falling behind in efforts to control their deficits.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed the week down 55.10, or 0.5%, at 10,012.23. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 7.68, or 0.7%, to 1,066.19. The Nasdaq composite index fell 6.23, or 0.3%, to 2,141.12.
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Title Annotation:WALL ST./FINANCE
Date:Feb 8, 2010
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