Stocks trade mixed as European leaders meet

U.S. stocks alternated between gains and losses Friday after European finance ministers pushed back a decision about how to solve the region’s debt crisis.

Blackberry maker Research in Motion Ltd. lost one-fifth of its value after reporting sharply lower revenue and income. The company is facing stiff competition from Apple Inc.’s iPhone and phones that use Google Inc.’s Android software.

At 11:17 a.m. Eastern time, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 5 points to 11,439. It had been up as many as 99 points earlier.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 1, or 0.1 percent, to 1,208. The Nasdaq composite index rose 2, or 0.1 percent, to 2,609.

Traders are waiting for news from a gathering of European finance ministers. The group is meeting in Poland to discuss a debt crisis that threatens to engulf several countries. They are joined by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who helped craft the response to the 2008 financial crisis.

The group will not decide until next month whether Greece has qualified for its next round of bailout money, its leader said early Friday. Geithner had urged his counterparts to provide a decisive solution to the crisis.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet is expected to speak after European markets close, around midday in New York.

Analysts said some stock-sellers were pocketing profits after a week that lifted shares nearly 5 percent. Antony Conroy, head trader for BNY ConvergEx Group, said traders’ sentiment is mixed, with some buying undervalued stocks and others selling on long-term concerns about Europe.

“Even though we’ve had a good couple of days, people still believe there’s a good chance that the credit crisis in Europe is going to cause something like a 2008 event,” he said.

Stocks rose every day this week, their first four-day winning streak since August. The rally lifted the Dow and the S&P by about 5 percent. The Dow is still down 1 percent for the month, the S&P 0.3 percent.

Research in Motion said after the market closed Thursday that it lost ground against competitors in the three months ended Aug. 27. The company sold far fewer tablets and phones, struggling in a category dominated by the iPhone and iPad.

The troubled company has lost more than half of its market value this year. RIM said July that it would lay off 2,000 workers, about 10 percent of its work force.

Stocks have not risen for five days in a row since the week ending July 1, before nervousness about the sluggish economy and Europe sent shares falling.

Markets surged on Thursday after five central banks said they would offer unlimited dollar loans to the European banks. Some banks have been unable to borrow to pay for their daily operations. They can’t get loans from other banks because no one knows how much bad debt they hold.


Daniel Wagner can be reached at