Mixed reports on the U.S. economy and better-than-expected company earnings nudged U.S. stocks higher on Friday. Indexes were rebounding after a slow start in light trading ahead of the Labor Day holiday.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 rose four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,001 as of 12:22 p.m. on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,090. The Nasdaq composite climbed 16 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,573.
THE QUOTE: "We're seeing a listless preholiday market," said Drew Wilson, investment analyst at Fenimore Asset Management.
CONSUMERS PULL BACK: Consumer spending edged down 0.1 percent in July, the first monthly decline since January, the Commerce Department reported. Fewer auto sales accounted for most of the weakness. At the same time, income growth slowed to 0.2 percent in July, the weakest showing in seven months.
FEELING BETTER: The University of Michigan's latest index of consumer sentiment rose to 82.5 in July from 81.8 in the previous month. The increase reflects greater optimism about jobs and rising incomes, largely among higher-income groups.
SECTOR VIEW: Nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index rose, led by financial stocks. Industrial stocks were the only group to fall.
CHIPPER CHIP MAKER: Avago Technologies, which makes semiconductors used in smartphones, computer servers and other devices, jumped 8.8 percent after reporting earnings that beat analysts' estimates. The stock rose $6.69 to $83.05.
BRIGHTER OUTLOOK: Splunk soared 20 percent after the data management software developer reported earnings late Thursday that exceeded Wall Street's expectations and raised its full-year profit and revenue estimates.
The stock added $9.06 to $54.40.
GLOBAL MARKETS: European markets were mixed after news that Japan and Europe's economies were struggling. In Europe, Germany's DAX rose 0.1 percent, while France's CAC 40 gained 0.3 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.4 percent.
SEPTEMBER LOOMS: Here comes September, widely considered the stock market's worst month. Since World War II, the S&P 500 index has ended the month with a loss half of the time. Recently, however, September has been good to investors. The S&P 500 has turned in a September loss just twice in the last decade: in the depths of the financial crisis in 2008 and following a fight over raising the government's borrowing limit in 2011.
BONDS AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held at 2.34 percent. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 79 cents to $95.34 a barrel in New York. Gold slipped $1.70 to $1,288.60 an ounce.