NEW YORK – A tough week on the stock market ended quietly Friday.
Major indexes notched modest gains, not nearly enough to make up for the four previous days of losses. It wound up being the second-worst week so far this year.
The Dow Jones industrial average remains down slightly for 2015, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index is essentially flat.
There was no one major catalyst to move the market one way or another Friday. Biotechnology stocks, battered over the last week, were among the top gainers, while energy stocks lagged as the price of oil fell.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 34.43 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,712.66. The S&P 500 rose 4.87 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,061.02 and the Nasdaq composite rose 27.86 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,891.22.
Stocks fell most of the week due to a combination of weaker-than-expected economic data and concerns that the rapid rise of the dollar may crimp U.S. corporate earnings.
The biggest sell-off was Wednesday, when a report showed orders at U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods fell last month, the latest disappointing data suggesting the U.S. economy has hit a soft patch. The Dow plunged nearly 300 points that day.
The question is whether the U.S. economy is really slowing down or whether the phenomenon can be blamed on the nasty winter. In addition to first-quarter earnings reports, investors also will be watching the Labor Department's monthly job markets survey, due out April 3, for insight into how the economy is doing.
"I'm trying to be as forward-looking as possible here. Clearly the weather had some sort of impact this quarter, but I still believe U.S. economic growth is strong," said Scott Wren, a strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors.