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Stocks gain on rise in consumer spending

Traders work on the floor of the New

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during King's initial public offering on March 25, 2014 on Wall Street. Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

A positive report on U.S. consumer spending helped push stocks mostly higher Friday for the first time in three days.

The gains were modest as investors continued to cut their holdings in biotechnology stocks, some of the best performing names of 2013.

Instead, the stocks that advanced the most were mostly mature, large companies such as Microsoft, Exxon and Cisco Systems.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 58.83 points to 16,323.06. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.46 percent to 1,857.62. The Nasdaq Composite, which includes a number of large biotech companies, rose 0.11 percent to 4,155.76.

Investors were encouraged by news that Americans increased their spending last month, a hopeful sign for an economy that has been slowed by months of severe winter weather. The Commerce Department said consumer spending inched up 0.3 percent. Incomes rose at the same pace.

Microsoft rose 94 cents, or 2.39 percent, to $40.30. The company announced Thursday that it was bringing Microsoft Office to the iPad and would shift its focus away from Windows, a move that analysts liked. -- AP

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