STOCK MARKET

Wild week of trading

ends with mixed results

Wall Street capped a week of volatile trading Friday with an uneven finish and the market's first weekly gain since November.

Losses in technology, energy and industrial stocks outweighed gains in retailers and other consumer-focused companies. Stocks spent much of the day wavering between small gains and losses, ultimately unable to maintain the momentum from a two-day winning streak.

Even so, the major stock indexes closed with their first weekly gain in what's been an otherwise painful last month of the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose more than 2 percent for the week, while the Nasdaq added nearly 4 percent. The indexes are still all down around 10 percent for the month and on track for their worst December since 1931.

"It seems like convulsions in either direction have been the real norm for much of December and that's certainly been the case this week," said Eric Wiegand senior portfolio manager for Private Wealth Management at U.S. Bank. "The initial push higher and then seeing it subside a little bit is perhaps getting back to a little bit more of a normal environment, reflecting the reality that we have still a number of issues overhanging the market."

The market's sharp downturn since October has intensified this month, erasing all its 2018 gains and nudging the S&P 500 closer to its worst year since 2008.

REAL ESTATE

Home sales down

0.7% in November

Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in November as higher mortgage rates and prices continued to squeeze would-be buyers out of the market.

The National Association of Realtors said Friday that its pending home sales index dipped 0.7 percent last month to 101.4. The index based on contract signings has dropped 7.7 percent over the past year and has recorded 11 straight year-over-year decreases.

The rate on benchmark 30-year, fixed rate mortgages was 4.55 percent this week, down from 4.62 percent last week but up from 3.99 percent a year ago.

"The latest decline in contract signings implies more short-term pullback in the housing sector," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

RETAIL

Sears plans to close

another 80 stores

Sears is closing 80 more stores as it teeters on the brink of liquidation.

The iconic retailer, once the nation's largest department store chain, set a deadline of Friday for bids for its remaining stores to avert closing down completely.

The retailer that began out as a mail order catalog in the 1880s has been in a slow death spiral, hobbled by the Great Recession and then overwhelmed by rivals both down the street and across the internet.

The 80 stores are due to close by March. None of the stores slated for closure is in the Akron area.