Wall Street ended Friday's trading with modest gains, extending a recent advance. A choppy session ended with some momentum going into the close. Better-than-expected economic news solidified market sentiment and allowed the major averages to continue their recent upward drift.
The Dow gained 25.09 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 13,275.20. The Nasdaq rose 14.20 points, or 0.5 percent, to end at 3,076.59. The S&P 500, which posted its sixth consecutive week of gains, gained 2.65, or 0.2 percent, ending at 1,418.16.
Stocks bounced around through much of the session, with the major averages spending some time in negative territory. The Nasdaq was able to gain ground following the mid-morning. The Dow and S&P 500 held closer to the unchanged mark.
Shares received some additional buying interest headed into the close. This allowed the major averages to post modest gains on the session.
Investors were cheered by some positive data on consumer sentiment. Consumer attitudes have improved in August, according to a closely watched survey, rising to their highest level in three months.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index advanced to 73.6 for the month, up from a reading of 72.3 in July. The result topped the figure predicted by economists.
In corporate news, retailer Gap (GPS) revealed earnings for the second quarter that rose 29 percent from last year and topped the amount analysts had predicted. The company also raised its forecast.
Shares of the company rose $1.65, or 4.8 percent, to reach $35.99
Ann Inc. (ANN) was another retailer that posted gains on the session. The owner of the Ann Taylor chain of women's clothing stores beat expectations with its quarterly profit and issued a strong outlook. Shares of Ann climbed $5.75, or 20.4 percent, to close at $33.89.
Overseas stocks gained ground on Friday as well.
The European markets posted a modest advance. Increased confidence in Germany's commitment to maintain the euro helped keep alive hopes that the ECB will take some decisive steps to reduce surging borrowing costs. Germany climbed 0.6 percent. The U.K. advanced 0.3 percent. France rose 0.2 percent.
Asian stocks finished with gains as well. Japan advanced 0.8 percent. Hong Kong also rallied 0.8 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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