Stocks posted solid gains for the third quarter, although the ride got bumpy at the end.
Stocks fell five days of the last six, including Friday, the last trading day of the quarter. But the big indexes are still up 4 percent or more for the three months. They're ahead 10 percent or more for the year.
That's despite all the anxiety about the euro, Iran and U.S. politics.
Uri Landesman, who runs the Platinum Partners hedge fund, said investors around the world feel that U.S. stocks look pretty good compared to some of the alternatives. "People are scared, and 2008 wasn't that long ago, and Europe remains a problem," he said. Those factors "are keeping the market up in the face of some really questionable economic data and questionable behavior by the Fed."
On Friday, the Commerce Department said consumer spending rose a half percent last month, compared with July. The jump was driven by higher gas prices, rather than by spending on clothing, electronics and general merchandise.
The news pushed stocks lower. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 48.84 points to close at 13,437.13. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.45 percent to 1,440.67. The Nasdaq composite index fell 0.65 percent to 3,116.23. -- AP