U.S. stock markets posted mixed gains Friday after a miserable week. The Dow fell as much as 245 points and finished the day up 61 and posting a 0.54% gain. The technology-heavy Nasdaq dropped 0.94% and the New York Stock Exchange composite fell 1.63%, however. Friday was the busiest trading day in over a year, while the week was the worst in two years for U.S. stocks, according to Reuters.
Music-related stocks had another bad day Friday and ended the week in negative territory. Vivendi fell 0.61% to $15.48 (down 7.3% for the week). Sony Corp. dropped 0.81% to $23.16 (down 7.81% for the week). Live Nation sank 3.79% to $9.38 (down 15.5% for the week). Pandora Media fell 0.81% to $13.52 (down 10.4%). Sirius XM fell 2.06% to $1.90 (down 10.43% for the week). Cumulous Media fell 10.06% to $2.95 (down 16.43% for the week). Trans World Entertainment Corp. dropped 3.02% to $1.93 (down 5.85% for the week).
Technology and ecommerce companies had a mixed day but were down this week. Apple fell 0.99% to $373.62 (down 4.32% for the week). Netflix faded 1.92% to $241.11 (down 9.35% for the week). However, Amazon.com and Google were in positive territory Friday. Amazon.com rose 1% to $202.70 (down 8.91% for the week). Google rose 0.26% to $579.04 (down 4.08% for the week).
After this week, all three major indices are in negative territory for the year. The Dow is down 1.15% in 2011 while the Nasdaq is down 4.54%, S&P 500 is down 4.63% and the New York Stock Exchange is down 5.09%. The year-to-date performances of individual companies followed by Billboard.biz are mixed. Year to date, Live Nation is down 17.86%, Vivendi is down 23.34% and Sony Corp. is down 35.2%. Sirius XM is up 15.94% and Trans World is up 12.87%.
Stocks have been on a rollercoaster ride not just because of U.S. and global debt worries, but also because of a number of worrisome indicators.
One worry for companies is that U.S. labor participation is at its lowest level in 27 years. The U.S. economy added 117,000 jobs in July, lowering the unemployment rate a tenth of a point to 9.1%. But part of that improvement was the result of people who stopped looking for work and dropped out of the workforce. The participation rate, which measures people working or searching for work, dropped to 63.9% -- its lowest level since July 1983.
In addition, consumer spending dropped in June for the first time in two years and growth in US growth domestic product (GDP) has stalled. On Friday Goldman Sachs downgraded its forecast for annual GDP growth in 2011 (to 1.7% from 1.8%) and 2012 (to 2.1% from 3%), according to Dow Jones.