August 18, 2012 in Business

Stocks’ winning streaks continue

Wallace Witkowski And Polya Lesova MarketWatch
 

U.S. stocks rose slightly Friday on another low-volume, low-volatility trading day, extending their summer winning streak after economic data showed a rise in consumer sentiment in August.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 25.09 points, or 0.2 percent, at 13,275.20, to finish the week up 0.5 percent for its sixth consecutive week of gains.

United Technologies Corp., Travelers Cos. and Caterpillar Inc. led gainers on the Dow.

The S&P 500 index advanced 2.65 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 1,418.16, finishing the week up 0.9 percent. Like the Dow, it’s the S&P 500’s sixth week of gains in a row, the longest weekly winning streak since January 2011.

The Nasdaq composite index finished up 14.20 points, or 0.5 percent, at 3,076.59, for a 1.8 percent weekly gain, its fifth week in a row of gains.

On Friday, the University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer-sentiment index rose to a preliminary August reading of 73.6 from a final July reading of 72.3, while economists polled by MarketWatch expected the index to decline.

Separately, the Conference Board said its leading economic index grew 0.4 percent in July.

But given the fairly full week of mixed economic data, markets are reacting more to whatever scraps of news might slip out of Europe as they coast along in summer dog-days mode with many trading desks vacant, said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.

Just as markets on Thursday got an added boost from upbeat comments on the euro from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, they also lost steam toward the end of trading Tuesday on reports that Greece would ask for more time to implement austerity programs.

“Economic indicators are not really having an effect,” Luschini said. “As long as the news is not terrible, markets can hold their own.”


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