Dow Jones average has its best week since January
NEW YORK • Stocks rose broadly Friday, giving the Dow Jones industrial average its best week since January.
The market got a lift from two economic reports, one showing that inflation remained tame in August and the other showing that Americans spent more at stores last month.
The Dow rose 75.42 points, or 0.5 percent, to 15,376.06. The index closed up three percent for the week, its best five-day performance since the week ending Jan. 4.
Intel led the Dow higher. Analysts at Jefferies & Co. said Intel may be able to increase its sales with power-efficient chips. Intel rose 81 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $23.44.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.57 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,687.99. The Nasdaq composite index rose 6.22 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,722.18.
Traders had a few economic reports to work through. Americans increased their spending modestly in August, roughly 0.2 percent, the Commerce Department reported, however that was half of what economists expected.
The sales report was mixed. Shoppers spent more on cars, electronics and furniture, but they didn't buy much else. Last month, several retail chains including Nordstrom, Macy's and Wal-Mart cut their profit forecasts for the year.
The government also reported that wholesale prices rose 0.3 percent last month. Over the past year, prices have only gained 1.4 percent, a sign that inflation has remains modest. One thing driving wholesale prices higher was energy, which spiked as tensions with Syria and the U.S. escalated.
Trading was light as Wall Street headed into the weekend and the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.
Investors were looking ahead to the Federal Reserve's policy meeting on Sept. 17-18, when the central bank is expected to decide the future of its bond-buying program.
"There's a lot of 'wait and see' going on until the Fed meeting next week," said Frank Davis, director of sales and trading at LEK Securities.
The Fed is buying $85 billion in bonds each month, and the consensus among investors is that the central bank will decide to reduce its buying to about $75 billion or $80 billion a month. The question is not whether the Fed will cut back on its bond buying but by how much, said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist with Brown Brothers Harriman Wealth Management.
The price of gold fell $22 to $1,308.60 an ounce. Oil slipped 39 cents to $108.21 a barrel. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.89 percent from 2.91 percent late Thursday.
September has been very strong for stocks so far. The Dow is up 3.8 percent and the S&P 500 has gained 3.4 percent.
In corporate news, Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrances surged $17.37, or 17 percent, to $117.50. The company reported a 28-percent increase in quarterly profit, thanks to stronger sales at its growing chain of stores.
Supermarket chain Safeway rose $1.61, or 6 percent, to $28.20 after analysts at Credit Suisse upgraded the stock to "outperform" from "underperform."
Galena Biopharma plunged 34 cents, or 14.9 percent, to $1.94 after the company sold 17.5 million shares of stock at $2 a share.