Wall Street Posts Modest Gains to End Weekly Tumble

Market Summary

Friday ended the worst week on Wall Street since the June doldrums. The good news is that major averages posted modest gains on the session as consumer sentiment refocused investor attention on the improving economic outlook (fiscal cliff not withstanding). The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 4.07 points, or 0.03%, to end at 12,815.39. The S&P 500 climbed 2.34 points, or 0.2%, to end at 1,379.85. Technology led sector gains Friday, while utilities performed most poorly among the 10 industry groups. The Nasdaq Composite added 9.29 points, or 0.3%, to end at 2,904.87. Looking at the weekly totals, the blue chips dropped 2.1% for their third consecutive weekly loss, the S&P 500 declined 2.4% on the week, while the tech heavy Nasdaq fell 2.6% for its fifth consecutive week of losses. We all thought September was similar to April, an overbought situation. While it turns out that October/November is shaping up to be like May.

Crude for December delivery rose 98 cents, or 1.2%, to settle at $86.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, futures prices gained 1.4%. Gold rose $4.90, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,730.90 an ounce, gaining more than 3% on the week.

Economic Rundown

Consumer sentiment rose a solid 2.3 points to another recovery best of 84.9 at the November mid-month reading. Current conditions are very strong, while expectations also rose to a recovery high. The August trend has continued as housing has improved, with little consumer reaction to the election or the approaching fiscal cliff. The consensus was for a slight increase to 83.3.

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