U.S. stocks end mixed in volatile trading

NEW YORK, May 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed mixed in choppy trading on Friday as investor sentiment remained shaky on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 8.77 points, or 0.03 percent, to 31,261.90. The S&P 500 added 0.57 points, or 0.01 percent, to 3,901.36. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 33.88 points, or 0.30 percent, to 11,354.62.

Six of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in green, with health care up 1.26 percent, outpacing the rest. Consumer discretionary slipped 1.53 percent, the worst-performing group.

Friday was another wild session for Wall Street's three major averages, which saw S&P 500 drop as much as 2.3 percent at the lows, briefly slipping into bear-market territory. A bear market is commonly defined by a fall of at least 20 percent from a recent peak. The 30-stock index fell more than 600 points earlier in the session.

The above market moves came amid growing worries that aggressive central bank policy tightening to curb inflation may tip the economy into recession.

Heightened uncertainty over the economic outlook has sent volatility rising and choppy trading is likely to continue, experts warned.

"We believe markets will remain turbulent until investors get greater clarity on the 3Rs - recession, rates, and risk," analysts at UBS said in a note on Friday.

For the week, the Dow slid 2.9 percent, its eighth straight negative week. The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 3 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively, for their seventh consecutive losing week.

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