NEW YORK, New York - U.S. stock markets reversed sharp losses in late trading to eke out minor gains in the industrials sector, while techs registered minuscule losses. Nonetheless, the extent of losses in recent weeks and months has the Standard and Poor's 500 on the brink of a bear market.
"Stocks are still liberally priced and the psychology that drove them upward for a decade has turned negative," George Ball, chairman at investment firm Sanders Morris Harris was quoted by CNBC as saying in a note to clients. "The average bear market lasts a year (338 days, more precisely). This downturn has run for only one-third of that, so it probably has more downside room to run, albeit punctuated by interim rallies."
The Dow Jones industrials were down more than 200 points early in the final hour of trading on Friday but the deficit evaporated as strong buying emerged.
At the close, the Dow was ahead 8.77 points or 0.03 percent at 31,261.90.
The Standard and Poor's 500 managed a 0.57 point or 0.01 percent rise to 3,901.36.
The Nasdaq Composite retreated 33.88 points or 0.20 percent to 11,354.62.
The U.S. dollar remained weak and under pressure throughout Friday. The euro firmed to 1.0554 around the New York close. The British pound was in demand at 1.2486. The Japanese yen was stronger at 127.86. The Swiss franc eased a tad to 0.9749.
The Canadian dollar inched down to 1.2831. The Australian dollar strengthened to 0.7039. The New Zealand dollar was being sought after at 0.6393.
On overseas equity markets, the FTSE 100 gained 1.19 percent. In Germany, the Dax was up 0.72 percent. The Paris-based CAC 40 added 0.20 percent.
China's Shanghai Composite accelerated 49.60 points or 1.60 percent to close Friday at 3,146.57.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng advanced 614.32 points or 3.05 percent to 20,735.00.
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo surged 336.19 points or 1.27 percent to 26,739.03.
The Australian All Ordinaries rose 87.70 points or 1.20 percent to 7,391.00.
In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 firmed 60.46 points or 0.54 percent to 11,267.39.
South Korea's Kospi Composite added 46.95 points or 1.81 percent to 2,639.20.