NEW YORK - Better-than-expected numbers on US consumer incomes and spending gave Wall Street shares a boost on Friday, as investors shrugged off saber rattling over Ukraine.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 58.83 points (0.36 per cent) to 16,323.06. The broad-based S&P 500 added 8.58 (0.46 per cent) at 1,857.62, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite gained 4.53 (0.11 per cent) to 4,155.76.
Consumer incomes and spending both rose 0.3 per cent in February, numbers that beat forecasts though were still fairly tepid. “We had been calling for a more modest gain in both series but the slight difference is still consistent with our call that the economy will underperform in 2014,” said Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist at Mizuho Securities USA.
To Peter Cardillo of Rockwell Global Capital “the news is getting better, and I suspect before we get into the earnings season, we should continue to march on higher.” Microsoft led the Dow 30 with a 2.2 per cent gain as its new version of its Word software for Apple iPad tablets soared to the top of the charts at Apple’s online App Store.
ExxonMobil added to Thursday’s gains with a 1.5 per cent rise, which came after Merrill Lynch upgraded its call on the company to a buy.Blackberry shares took a 6.2 per cent fall after reporting a $423 million loss for its fourth quarter, though that was less than expected.
Shares in software maker Red Hat fell 7.1 per cent on a dimmer forecast for 2014, despite beating expectations with a 4.9 per cent gain in fiscal fourth quarter profits.
And better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings driven by the housing sector comeback at home decoration chain Restoration Hardware helped its shares add 12.8 per cent.
Bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.72 per cent from 2.67 per cent late Thursday, while the 30-year yield rose to 3.55 per cent from 3.51 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.