Dow Ends Strong Week With Wee Gains


Stocks closed ever-so-slightly higher Friday as traders weighed some better-than-expected earnings news and inflation data against slumping consumer sentiment.

The expiration of four different types of equities contracts in a so-called quadruple witching and a regular rebalancing of the S&P 500 caused a volume spike after weeks of tepid trading, but the end result was a snooze. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) rose 10 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 10,605, while the broader S&P 500 ($INX) tacked on one point to close at 1,126.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX), however, added 12 points, or 0.5%, to close at 2,316, helped by strong quarterly results form Oracle (ORCL) late Thursday.

Gold continued its record-breaking run, closing at $1,277 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange (CME). The yellow metal rose 2.5% on the week, setting new records on Tuesday and Thursday before notching Friday's high water mark.

Deflationary concerns ebbed after consumer prices ticked up as expected in August. Whatever lift the inflation report gave to equities was counterbalanced by a surprising drop in consumer sentiment, which fell to its lowest level since August 2009.

Despite Friday's flattish finish, stocks posted smart gains on the week. The Dow added 1.4% over the last five sessions, while the S&P 500 rose 1.6% and the Nasdaq gained 3.3%

"It was a great week," says Jason Weisberg, managing director with Seaport Securities. "But the Dow has been in this 700-point range for months and months. All it takes in one bad headline to start giving some of those gains up."

For more on Weisberg's take on this week's trading from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYX), see the video below.