Stocks closed higher Friday for the seventh time in the last eight sessions, helped by a stronger-than-expected reading on wholesale inventories and sales. Volume was especially light at the end of the holiday shortened trading week but September's mini-rally continued nonetheless.
The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) rose 49 points, or 0.5%, to close at 10,646. The broader S&P 500 ($INX) gained 5, or 0.5%, to 1,110. The more volatile, tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) tacked on 6 points, or 0.3%, to finish at 2,242.
Wholesale inventories rose in July by the largest in amount in two years, while sales rebounded after posting two consecutive months of decline, the Commerce Department said Friday. Inventory restocking has been major driver of economic growth, especially at the end of 2009 and earlier this year.
The Dow is now up 4.5% in September after suffering its worst August performance in nearly a decade, but vapor-thin volume means this week's action was more noise than signal, says Alan Valdez, director of trading operations at DME Securities.