Wall Street closed out a winning week with a narrowly mixed performance today after the government reported that Americans' spending rose...
NEW YORK — Wall Street closed out a winning week with a narrowly mixed performance today after the government reported that Americans’ spending rose in April to keep pace with rising costs.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 7.90 to 12,638.32, and finished up 1.3 percent for the week.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, added 1 cent today to close at $28.32 a share, ending 1 percent higher for the week. Boeing, also a Dow stock, gained 66 cents to $82.77 today, and was up 1.6 percent for the week.
Broader stock indicators edged higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.12 to 1,400.38, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 14.34 to 2,522.66.
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Investors who sent stocks higher for three straight sessions turned cautious after the Commerce Department said personal spending rose 0.2 percent last month and personal income rose 0.2 percent. The department also said inflation at the personal spending level, after stripping out food and energy costs, ticked up in April by a tame 0.1 percent.
The readings were in line with the market’s expectations and supported the notion that high commodities costs are not yet causing a sharp pullback in spending or lifting prices for other goods. Meanwhile, the technology sector got a lift after computer maker Dell and chip maker Marvell Technology Group posted stronger-than-expected quarterly results.
But Wall Street’s concerns about the economy and inflation are far from erased, despite the stock market’s healthy gain this week. Although the government estimated Thursday that first-quarter gross domestic product grew by nearly 1 percent, Americans are still face rising costs for necessities such as groceries and gasoline. Furthermore, crude oil remains near record highs — a serious drag on consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy.
Investors will get a clearer picture with economic reports to be released next week. Analysts believe strong data on job growth and manufacturing will boost stocks — or, if the reports are disappointing, deliver a setback to the markets.
“It is now all about the economy, and I think we’re going to get numbers that might be a requiem for the recession forecasters,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at New York-based brokerage house Avalon Partners. “Not to say the numbers will be great, but not as bad as people might have anticipated. That will give the market a lift.”
He said some investors were adjusting their positions today ahead of the data.