U.S. stocks ended a horrendous week with a volatile session that left many questions unanswered.
On Friday, the S&P 500 Index dropped 0.69 points, or 0.06 percent, to end at 1,199.38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 60.93 points, or 0.54 percent, to close at 11,444.61. The NASDAQ Composite fell 0.94 percent.
For the week, the S&P 500 dropped 92.9 points, or 7.2 percent, which is its worst performance since November 2008.
The first unanswered question is the U.S. economy, which some fear is headed towards a double-dip recession.
The highly-watched July jobs report, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics at 8:30 a.m. ET, showed that the U.S. economy added 117,000 jobs in July, which was above the (bearish) consensus expectations of economists.
However, that's far below the number of jobs a healthy recovering U.S. economy generates (about 200,000) and not enough to quell fears of a double-dip recession.
In Europe, the bond market caught a break as Italy struck a deal with the European Central Bank (ECB) for the latter to buy Italian bonds in exchange for the former to accelerate austerity measures, according to multiple media reports.
ECB buying, if done in sufficient volume, could prop up the market for Italian bonds. However, the question is if the ECB has the political will to pour in enough money to save Italy, the third largest economy in the euro-zone.
Moreover, the long-term European problem of high debt and limited growth (which austerity measures arguably exacerbate) remains unresolved.