NEW YORK - Wall Street closed out a winning week with a narrowly mixed performance yesterday after the government reported that Americans' spending rose in April to keep pace with rising costs.
Investors who sent stocks higher for three straight sessions turned cautious after the Commerce Department said personal spending rose 0.2 percent last month and personal income rose 0.2 percent. The department also said inflation at the personal-spending level, after stripping out volatile food and energy costs, ticked up in April by a tame 0.1 percent.
The readings were in line with the market's expectations, and supported the notion that high commodities costs are not yet causing a sharp pullback in spending or lifting prices for other goods. Meanwhile, the technology sector got a lift after computer-maker Dell Inc. and chip-maker Marvell Technology Group Ltd. posted stronger-than-expected quarterly results.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 7.90, or 0.06 percent, to 12,638.32. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 2.12, or 0.15 percent, to 1,400.38, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 14.34, or 0.57 percent, to 2,522.66.
All three indexes finished higher for the week, recovering from the previous week's sharp losses. The dollar stabilized and oil prices pulled back from record highs during the last four sessions, giving investors some relief as they parsed data suggesting that the economy is weak but not technically in recession.
The energy markets continued to weigh on investors, however, with oil prices down from record levels but threatening to surge again. Crude oil futures settled up 73 cents at $127.35 a barrel in erratic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The dollar fell against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.
Wall Street will look for signs of how rising inflation is affecting the economy in several reports due next week. The Institute for Supply Management will release an index of conditions in the manufacturing sector on Monday and its services sector report on Wednesday.
The Labor Department on Friday will release its May employment report, one of the most closely watched indicators of economic health.
In corporate news, the technology-dominated Nasdaq got a boost after Dell, the world's second-largest seller of personal computers, issued a profit report late Thursday that was stronger than analysts expected due to growth in Asia and robust sales of notebook computers. Dell shares jumped $1.25, or 5.7 percent, to $23.06, and injected some optimism into Wall Street that foreign economies are helping many companies weather the weak U.S. market.
Marvell Technology swung to a larger-than-expected profit in the quarter ended May 3, and its revenue also beat analyst forecasts. Shares rose $3.28, or 23.3 percent, to $17.36.