U.S. markets ended mixed Friday as investors waited nervously for word of an agreement on a government bailout of troubled financial companies. Mike O'Sullivan reports, Congressional leaders say they are working toward a deal on a rescue package that they say would return the U.S. economy to a safer footing.
The Dow Jones industrial average ended 121 points higher Friday, buoyed by big financial companies, but smaller banks and tech stocks ended lower. At the same time, President Bush and Congressional leaders were promising quick action on a bailout plan that would calm the nerves of the troubled financial sector.
The collapse Thursday of one of the nation's biggest banks, Washington Mutual, added to the jitters. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took control of the bank, and sold its assets to JPMorgan Chase & Company for $1.9 billion.
Friday, members of both houses of Congress worked to iron out details of a $700 billion rescue plan to buy devalued securities from financial companies. Treasury secretary Henry Paulson is promoting the package on behalf of the Bush administration, but conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives reject it.
President Bush said Friday he is optimistic the parties will come together. "The legislative process is sometimes not very pretty, but we are going to get a package passed."
Friday afternoon, House Democrats said they had reached a tentative agreement with administration officials on some provisions, including one demanding accountability for the plan's administrators.
House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank predicted a deal by Sunday, and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the meetings will continue until there is an agreement. "Will be in as long as it takes, and we hope it doesn't take long because the markets need a message from us, that were acting with deliberation and that we understand that time is important."
Republicans in the House of Representatives want a plan with less government intervention in the marketplace, but they have agreed to take part in discussions over the current proposal.