NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Blue chips gained and the broader market was mixed Friday, at the end of a strong week, as investors eyed mixed economic news and rising oil prices -- and geared up for next week's presidential election.
The Dow Jones industrial average (up 22.93 to 10,027.47, Charts) and the Standard & Poor's 500 (up 2.76 to 1,130.20, Charts) index both gained around 0.2 percent.
The Nasdaq composite (down 0.75 to 1,974.99, Charts) closed nearly unchanged.
For the week, all three major indexes closed with strong gains. The Dow gained 2.75 percent this week, the S&P 500 gained 3.1 percent and the Nasdaq gained 3.1 percent.
And for the month the S&P 500 added 1.4 percent and the Nasdaq added 4.1 percent. But the Dow fell 0.5 in October.
Stocks rallied Tuesday and Wednesday as investors cheered a drop in oil prices, a recovery in the beleaguered insurance sector and a bounce in the tech sector.
But investors were content to rest on those laurels for most of Thursday and Friday.
"The selloff that we had up until this week was pretty deep, particularly with the Dow stocks, and a lot of the insurance issues," said Robert Philips, president and chief investment officer at Walnut Asset Management. "The gains we saw this week were more of a catch up, rather than a change in direction."
Philips said that worries about the presidential election next week were holding markets in check, and that he expected a similar session on Monday.
With just four days until the election, polls show President Bush and Sen. John Kerry in essentially a dead heat. The lack of certainty about the outcome has put investors on edge as they worry about a deadlock similar to 2000.
Nonetheless, "we've had a really nice rally this week," said Tim Heekin, head of stock trading at Thomas Weisel Partners.
The last week of October is traditionally a pretty good one as managers make end-of-month moves. In addition, Oct. 31 ends the fiscal year for many mutual funds.
"There's been lots of movement for tax loss selling, managers looking to buy stocks that have done well this year, and a lot of bottom fishing, where they're selling some stocks that have been dogs and are buying stocks that are expected to outperform in the fourth quarter and 2005," Heekin said.
Sentiment surges, GDP slips
In a report released shortly after the open, the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for October was upwardly revised to 91.7 versus an earlier read of 87.5, as investors started to feel a bit better about the economy at the end of the month.
Economists surveyed by Briefing.com thought October sentiment would be revised up to a read of 88. The September index stood at 94.2.
The Chicago PMI for October came in at a much higher-than-expected 68.5 versus expectations for a read of 59. The index is a measure of manufacturing in the Midwest region and clocked in at an upwardly revised 61.9 in September.
The two strong reports overshadowed the morning's weaker-than-expected gross domestic product (GDP) figure, and initially gave the market a big pop. But after digesting the news, stocks pulled back, turning mostly flat.
GDP grew at a 3.7 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said, in a report released before the start of trade. That was up from a read of 3.3 percent in the second quarter, but below expectations for 4.3 percent growth.
Among stock movers, techs were more negative than other sectors, with chips in particular sliding.
Aon (down $0.96 to $20.41, Research) tumbled after reporting earnings late Thursday that fell from a year earlier. The No. 2 insurance broker also withdrew its 2005 guidance, citing weakening market conditions and its decision to stop using contingent commissions.
The way the insurance industry uses commissions has come under scrutiny lately from the New York Attorney General's office and elsewhere.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (down $0.58 to $23.43, Research) declined after reporting earnings that fell from a year earlier and were in line with expectations. The company also lowered its fourth-quarter earnings per share range.
Avon Products (down $3.66 to $39.55, Research) fell in active New York Stock Exchange trade. The consumer products maker reported improved third-quarter earnings and raised its forecast for the fiscal year to reflect those numbers. However, it also issued a fourth-quarter forecast that is short of estimates.
Deutsche Bank downgraded Avon to "hold" from "buy"
Market breadth was mixed. On the New York Stock Exchange, advancers edged decliners 8 to 7 on volume of 1.49 billion shares. On the Nasdaq, losers barely edged winners as 1.62 billion shares changed hands.
U.S. light crude oil for December delivery added 83 cents to settle at $51.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Treasury prices inched higher, pushing the 10-year note yield down to 4.02 percent from 4.05 percent late Thursday. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
In currency trading, the dollar fell versus the yen and euro.