Stocks closed higher, Friday, with the major market gauges posting their best week since mid-July after a flurry of bearish economic data convinced traders any expected changes in the Federal Reserve's stimulus efforts will be relatively small. Most sectors in the S&P 500 ended in the black - albeit by small margins. Relatively defensive sectors like consumer staples and utilities led the gains along with basic materials despite price declines for crude oil and metals in commodities trading.
Retail sales increased by only 0.2% in August, the Commerce Department reported, well below market estimates looking for a 0.5% gain. Excluding the volatile auto and gas component, sales climbed just 0.1%.
Also, Friday, producer prices rose slightly more than expected during August, advancing 0.3% compared with consensus opinion expecting a 0.2% gain. Again, after food and fuel prices were excluded, PPI was unchanged last month. The data were well received by both stocks and bonds, fueling speculation the Federal Reserve will leave monetary policy nearly unchanged when its Federal Open Markets Committee meets next week.
The Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment fell to a five-month low of 76.8 in September, well below estimates of 82.0 and lower than the 82.1 index in August. Finally, the Commerce Department also said business inventories rose a slightly larger than expected 0.4%.
Crude oil for October delivery settled 39 cents lower at $108.21 per barrel. October natural gas rose 4 cents to finish at $3.68 per 1 million BTU. December gold fell $22 to $1,308.60 per ounce while December silver declined 43 cents to end at $21.72 per ounce. December copper slid 7 cents to settle at $3.20 per pound.
Here's Where The Markets Stood At Day's End
- Dow Jones Industrial Average up 75.42 (+0.49%) to 15,376.06
- S&P 500 up 4.57 (+0.27%) to 1,687.99
- Nasdaq Composite Index up 6.22 (+0.17%) to 3,722.18
- Hang Seng Index down 0.17%
- Shanghai China Composite down 0.86%
- FTSE 100 Index down 0.08%
- (+) ULTA, Reports Q2 sales of $601 mln, vs. the analyst consensus of $588 mln. EPS was $0.70, also beating expectations by $0.03 per share.
- (+) LAKE, Supplier of industrial clothing posts Q4 net loss of $0.16 per share, a penny wider the Capital IQ consensus.
- (+) GSVC, Prices $60 million offering of its 5.25% convertible senior notes Due 2018.
- (-) PRAN, Biopharmaceutical firm says results from Phase II testing of its potential treatment for early-to-mid stage Huntington's disease won't be available until early 2014. Initial release was planned for Q4 of 2013 debut.
- (-) GALE, Development-stage oncology drug-maker prices public sale of 17.5 million equity units at $2.00 apiece, generating $35 million in gross proceeds.
- (-) DCTH, FDA issues a complete response letter, regarding the company's New Drug Application for its Melblez Kit, which will need to be completed before DCTH can start a randomized trial of the hepatic perfusion system.
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