NEW YORK — The stock market ended flat Friday as traders hoped for more economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve, and worried about escalating tensions between the U.S. and Syria.
While stocks ended close to where they began, their prices were volatile throughout the day. Stocks opened slightly higher but soon fell after Russian media reported that naval ships were en route to Syria, raising worries of a wider conflict and sending the Dow Jones industrial average down as much 148 points in the first half-hour of trading. The Dow rose as high as 15,009 and dropped as low as 14,789 — a big 220 point range.
Russia’s actions “made the market nervous,” said Dean Junkans, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank, which has $170 billion in assets under management
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose less than a point, or 0.01 percent, to close at 1,655.17. The Dow ended down 14.98 points, or 0.1 percent, at 14,922.50. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.23 points, or 0.03 percent, to 3,660.01.
Traders were rattled by conflicting forces. A mediocre August jobs report suggested that U.S. economic growth was slowing, while providing a reason for the Fed to keep up its stimulus program. The geopolitical risks of Syria added to the uncertainty Friday.
Friday’s volatility aside, Wall Street had a pretty good week. The S&P 500 rose 1.4 percent for the week, and the Nasdaq was up nearly 2 percent. It was the best five-day gain for the S&P 500 in two months.
Mattress Firm plunged $6.10, or 15 percent, to $35.59 after it reported a second-quarter profit that fell far below analysts’ expectations.