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Stocks Pare Losses; Energy Gains
08 Apr 2011 EDT - CNBC.com
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Stocks pared losses but remained lower ahead of the weekend amid surging oil prices, and as Congress seemed on track to trigger a government shutdown by failing to agree to a budget for the rest of the fiscal year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 30 points, after dropping more than 80 earlier, a day after a volatile session triggered by news of a second earthquake in Japan.

Among Dow components, Cisco and Alcoa fell, while Merck and Pfizer rose.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also declined. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell below 17.

Among key S&P sectors, industrials and financials fell, while energy and health care rose.

Most of the market action on Friday was in commodities as gold soared to yet another new record, closing above $1,473 an ounce. Meanwhile, the dollar sank against the euro, which rose after the European Central Bank raised a key interest rateby 0.25 percent on Thursday.

Oil prices jumped to new records amid attacks on Libyan oil fields, and the sinking dollar. London Brent crude surged above $124 a barrel, while U.S. light crude rose $2.49 to settle at $112.79 a barrel, its highest close since September 2008.

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