Stocks manage gains
Major gauges inch higher as investors welcome reports that suggest economic growth is holding up.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stocks struggled higher Friday morning after a series of strong reports - on personal income and spending, manufacturing and construction - reassured investors about the strength of the economy.
However, gains were limited as investors eyed higher Treasury bond yields and fluctuating oil prices.
The Dow Jones industrial average (up 28.52 to 12,377.27, Charts) and the Nasdaq composite (Charts) both gained about 0.3 percent over an hour into the session. The S&P 500 (up 1.86 to 1,424.39, Charts) index was 0.2 percent higher.
Stocks rose Thursday at the end of a choppy session in which a strong fourth-quarter growth report vied with a spike in oil prices.
After a shaky start, stocks resumed the climb Friday.
Both consumer spending and personal income rose faster-than-expected in February, according to an early morning report that also showed a bigger-than-expected jump in a key measure of inflation. (Full story).
The Chicago purchasing manager's index, a regional manufacturing report, also showed a much larger-than-expected jump in March.
Construction spending rose 0.3 percent in February, versus expectations for a decline of 0.6 percent after the previous month's decline of 0.5 percent.
The revised reading on consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan showed a dip to 88.4 from 88.8 previously. Economists thought it would hold steady.
The reports served to reassure investors that the economy is holding up well, following several weeks of discouraging readings.
Among stock movers, Dendreon (up $8.35 to $13.57, Charts) jumped 170 percent and topped the Nasdaq's most-actives list after a Food and Drug Administration panel said late Thursday that its treatment for advanced prostate cancer is reasonably safe and effective.
PMC-Sierra (up $0.53 to $6.83, Charts) shares rallied after the chipmaker said late Thursday that it was closing two research and development centers in Canada and cutting jobs as part of a restructuring effort. The company also said that first-quarter revenue will be in the middle to high end of its previous forecast.
In other news, Dell (down $0.36 to $23.03, Charts) said late Thursday that an internal audit of its accounting showed errors in its financial controls, which could result in restatements of past quarters. Shares fell 1 percent Friday. (Full story).
Market breadth was positive. On the New York Stock Exchange, winners topped losers three to two on volume of 290 million shares. On the Nasdaq, advancers beat decliners five to four on volume of 510 million shares.
U.S. light crude oil for May delivery fell 13 cents to $65.90 a barrel in New York Mercantile Exchange trading, giving up bigger earlier gains. Prices have been on the rise recently amid worries about the conflict with Iran, the world's No. 4 exporter.
COMEX gold for April delivery rose 80 cents to $668.40 an ounce.
Treasury prices eased, boosting the yield on the 10-year note to about 4.66 percent from 4.64 percent late Thursday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.
In currency trading, the dollar rose versus the euro and the yen.
Why Iran matters to oil markets