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Stocks ended the week on a mixed note, with Nasdaq pushing higher Friday and the Dow industrials dipping. Volume cooled quite a bit.
The Nasdaq climbed 0.4%, while the Dow fell 0.6% and the S&P 500 dipped 0.1%. Volume fell 18% on the Nasdaq and 15% on the NYSE, based on early figures.
Once again, most of the session's top-performing groups came from the lowest ranks. Solar stocks and gaming-software developers led the way, with gains also seen in education and media software developers, database-software developers and Internet-content providers.
Gold and silver miners fared well, as did plastics makers -- two groups from the upper-middle range.
Weak group action was limited. Computer networkers, a highly ranked group, took a small hit. Riverbed Technology's (RVBD) 18% nose-dive, driven by a disappointing Q1 outlook, can take the blame for much of its group's weakness.
Ford Motor (F) fell 4% in almost three times its usual volume after the automaker missed estimates in its Q4 report. Ford earned 20 cents a share, a nickel below views and 33% less than its year-ago result. The company was hit by Europe's crisis-driven slump, Thailand's historic flooding and unfriendly currency movements