On the economic front, U.S. consumer sentiment declined in early April, hurt by rising gasoline prices, according to a survey by University of Michigan and Reuters.
Geopolitical concerns also weighed, as Chinese growth slowedin the first quarter. But the tepid data led some to believe that Beijing could further ease monetary policy further to boost the economy.
In addition, Spanish banks had borrowed heavily from the European Central bank in March, underlining the continuing difficulties peripheral institutions are having in securing funding.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke at a conference in New York, defending the central bank's response to the financial crisis, but made no comments about the current state of the economy or the policies taken to spur growth .
Traders have been closely analyzing the Chairman's comments for signals about the possibility for further monetary easing on the heels of some tepid economic reports in recent weeks.
A slew of Fed officials spoke publicly throughout the week, expressing mixed views about maintaining low interest rates until 2014.
Google is in the spotlight as well after the search-engine giant's earnings beat forecasts and the company also announced a two-for-one stock split designed to preserve the control of its co-founders. At least 10 brokerages boosted their price target on the firm.Page 3 of 5 | Prev Page | Next Page