Blue chips, S&P 500 gain for 6th straight week
SAN FRANCISCO (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 (DJIA) closed up 25.09 points, or 0.2%, at 13,275.20, with 13 of its 30 components trading in positive territory, to finish the week up 0.5% for its sixth consecutive week of gains.
The S&P 500 index (SPX) advanced 2.65 points, or 0.2%, to close at 1,418.16, with the technology and industrials sectors leading the way higher, finishing the week up 0.9%. 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 (COMP) finished up 14.20 points, or 0.5%, at 3,076.59, for a 1.8% 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 to 71.8. Read more on consumer sentiment.
Separately, the Conference Board said its leading economic index grew 0.4% in July. Read more on leading economic indicators.
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."
While momentum seems to be on the upside, be mindful that complacency has set in the market, said Marty Leclerc, principal at Barrack Yard Advisors. "What's driving prices right now is sentiment," Leclerc said.
With the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) , the market's so-called "fear index," at multiyear lows, Leclerc said he's using the recent rally as a selling opportunity.
The VIX closed down 5.9% at 13.45, its lowest close since 2007.
Volume for NYSE-listed shares topped 2.8 billion shares by midday, and Nasdaq-listed share volume was just over 1.6 billion shares. The average daily volume for August has been 3.29 billion for NYSE-listed shares and 1.7 billion for Nasdaq-listed shares, according to Barclays.
Advancers outnumbered decliners by just over 3 to 2 on the NYSE, accounting for 57% of the volume, and by 2 to 1 on the Nasdaq, accounting for 56% of volume.