Stocks had a mixed day Friday, as investors waited for negotiators to finish their work on a solution to Greece’s debt problems. And those talks were thrown into deep doubt — well after U.S. trading closed Friday — when the Greek prime minister early Saturday called for a national vote on the austerity measures his country is being asked to take in return for needed bailout money.
Also Friday, Chinese stocks plunged 7 percent as fears spread that a yearlong bull rally there has become overheated. China’s benchmark index is still up more than double over the past year.
The Dow Jones industrial average added 56.32 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,946.68. It was largely lifted by Nike, which rose more than 4 percent after posting strong quarterly results.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.82 point, or 0.04 percent, to 2,101.49, and the Nasdaq composite lost 31.68 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,080.51. All three indexes ended the week slightly lower.
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As they have done all week, global investors watched closely as Greek debt talks went down to the wire. On Thursday, a key meeting of eurozone finance ministers broke up without an agreement, and the 19 ministers were due to meet again Saturday. But whether that will occur was thrown into doubt when the prime minister called for a referendum.
Greece needs a deal so it can make a debt payment of 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday. Failing to do so would put the country on a path toward default and a possible exit from the euro.
Investors now turn to next week, when the U.S. government will release the June jobs report. Economists forecast that U.S. employers created 237,500 jobs last month, according to FactSet.
There’s been a lot of focus on when the Federal Reserve will raise its key interest rate. Recent economic data seem to show that the U.S. economic recovery is holding steady, and now many investors are expecting the Fed to raise rates in September.
“There’s a premium on economic data right now,” said Quincy Krosby, a market strategist at Prudential Financial. “Outside of Greece, everyone will be focused on how the U.S. economy is holding up.”
While Greece has been the main driver in financial markets in recent weeks, worries over China have risen the list of concerns. On Friday, the Shanghai composite closed at 4,391.91. It reached 5,300 just two weeks ago.
“Although I continue to be optimistic about the longer-term trend of (China’s) markets, it’s clear that we are in a sharp correction phase,” said Bernard Aw of IG Markets in Singapore.