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U.S. stock indexes end day with very modest gains

American flags fly in front of the New

American flags fly in front of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street on Oct. 8, 2014. Photo Credit: AP

Stock indexes closed with gains Friday with technology compaies and banks leading the way. Technology companies are rising as investors were pleased with economic reports from the U.S. and China. Several major U.S. banks reported strong third-quarter results, while energy companies are down as the price of oil falls.

ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average added 39.4 points, about 0.2 percent, to 18,138.4. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up less than a point at nearly 2,133. The Nasdaq composite also closed up less than a point at 5,214.2.

OIL PRICES: At midafternoon, U.S. benchmark crude oil was down 10 cents at $50.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude, the international standard, fell 6 cents to $51.97 a barrel.

BANKS MAKE IT COUNT: JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup’s results were better than investors expected. JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank, set aside more money to cover loans that could go bad, but it reported a big gain in deposits and originated more mortgages. Citigroup reported better results from its consumer banking business.

U.S. RETAIL SALES: The Commerce Department said retail sales bounced back in September. They rose 0.6 percent as spending on restaurants, cars and gas improved. Investors were concerned when retail sales fell in August. The agency also said business stockpiles and sales grew in August, which is a sign that economic growth could get stronger over the last few months of the year.

The Labor Department said producer prices rose in September as the cost of energy and food increased, but inflation appeared to remain limited.

CHINA INFLATION: Consumer prices in China rose 1.9 percent in September, which was better than experts expected. That suggests consumers in China are starting to spend more. Another measure of inflation, the producer price index, rose for the first time since 2012. That could result in factories in China starting to pass rising costs to their consumers.

Stocks fell Thursday as a report on imports and exports caused investors to worry that China’s economic is weakening. Some of the largest losses went to tech companies, as China is a major market for them.


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