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Stocks end mixed as tech gains offset healthcare losses

The Dow drops 36 points to 9,544, breaking an eight-day winning streak that lifted the blue-chip index by 445 points. For the week, the Dow and the Nasdaq climbed 0.4%; the S&P 500 rose 0.3%.

August 29, 2009|Associated Press

NEW YORK — Investors balked Friday at extending Wall Street's recent rally, but stocks still managed to carve out their sixth weekly advance in seven weeks.

For the day, major indexes finished mixed after losses among healthcare stocks offset gains in technology companies.

The Dow Jones industrials broke an eight-day winning streak that lifted the blue-chip index by 445 points.

On Friday the Dow fell 36.43 points, or 0.4%, to 9,544.20. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.05 points, or 0.3%, to 1,028.93, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 1.04 points, or 0.1%, to 2,028.77.

Advancing issues narrowly outnumbered decliners on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was light.

The market got an initial boost after Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel, the world's largest maker of computer chips, raised the top end of its sales forecast for the current quarter from $8.8 billion to $9.2 billion. Shares of Intel climbed 4%.

Intel's upbeat report came after computer maker Dell late Thursday posted better-than-expected results for its latest quarter. Although sales continued to fall because of reduced spending by consumers and businesses, Round Rock, Texas-based Dell said it had seen signs of improvement. Dell shares gained 1.8%.

Investors also got more data Friday about consumers, a focal point in recent weeks for investors worried that sluggish spending would hinder the economy's recovery.

The Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 0.2% in July, which was in line with economists' expectations. The latest report also said personal income was flat in July. Economists had expected a 0.2% increase.

With one trading day left in August, the Dow and the S&P 500 are up more than 4% for the month, putting each index on track to have its best August since 2000.

Most of the month's gains were made last week, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's upbeat assessment of the economy sent investors clamoring for stocks.

This week, the Dow and the Nasdaq gained 0.4%, while the S&P 500 rose 0.3%.

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