Adam Shell and Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
Wall Street opened mixed Friday but glitch-free as the Nasdaq stock market was operating normally a day after an unexplained technical problem at the electronic exchange caused a three-hour trading delay.
In early trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.2% , Standard & Poor's 500 was off 0.1% and the Nasdaq was up 0.2%.
All the major indexes got a lift from an nearly 7% rise in shares of software maker Microsoft, which announced that its CE0 Steve Ballmer will retire within 12 months, raising hopes that a new leader at the established tech giant can unlock some value, says Price Headley, CEO of BigTrends.com.
Andy Brooks, head trader at mutual fund giant T. Rowe Price, said it appeared to be business as usual at the Nasdaq, a day after a three-hour outage raised fresh fears about the market's fragile technological backbone.
"Things look fine, things look normal," says Brooks, adding that the market is back to focusing its attention on market-moving news, such as the upcoming CEO shift at Microsoft, corporate earnings and monetary policy.
The fact that the Nasdaq opened without a glitch also boosted sentiment.
"Everyone is happy it is a slow day in August," says Brooks. "I'm sure everyone is anxious for 4 o'clock."
On Thursday in New York, the Dow ended a six-day losing streak, while a technical glitch halted trading on the Nasdaq for most of the afternoon. The Dow rose 0.4% to 14,963.74. The S&P 500 gained 0.9% to 1,656.96. The Nasdaq climbed 1.1% to 3,638.71.
The highly unusual flash freeze that crippled Nasdaq and blocked trading in Apple, Facebook and other popular stocks did not appear to have been caused by computer hacking, said a federal law enforcement official who did not want to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the episode.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index jumped 2.2% to 13,660.55 and South Korea's Kospi added 1.1% to 1,870.16 on Friday after encouraging economic data from China and Europe raised hopes that a global economic recovery was underway.
European shares declined.
Benchmark oil for October delivery fell 9 cents to $104.94 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.18 to close at $105.03 a barrel on the Nymex on Thursday.