Wall Street ended an erratic quarter with a modest advance Friday as falling oil prices helped ease concerns about a weakening consumer environment in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The major indexes finished both the week and the quarter with sturdy gains.
Stocks fluctuated throughout Friday's session following news that personal income and spending declined last month and that consumer confidence plunged from August. The numbers -- mostly reflecting the month before the storms ravaged the Gulf Coast -- largely missed expectations and raised fears about further decreases this winter in a time of record energy prices.
At the close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 15.92, or 0.15 percent, to 10,568.70, after spending most of the session in negative territory.
The broader stock indicators also moved higher. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index was up 1.13, or 0.09 percent, at 1228.81, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 10.47, or 0.49 percent, to 2151.49.
For the week, the Dow rose 1.43 percent, the S&P 500 climbed 1.11 percent and the Nasdaq gained 1.65 percent.
The indexes' September performance reflected the market's anxiety about the hurricanes, with the Dow gaining just 0.83 percent and the S&P 500 0.69 percent, while the Nasdaq fell 0.02 percent. For the quarter, however, the Dow gained 2.86 percent, the S&P 500 rose 3.15 percent and the Nasdaq climbed a healthy 4.61 percent.
Wal-Mart Stores rose 28 cents, to $43.82, on positive reaction to the company's increased stake in Japanese retailer Seiyu.
Boeing rose 67 cents, to $67.95, after its machinists approved a new labor contract, ending their strike.
Procter & Gamble rose $1.32, to $59.46, after saying that the Federal Trade Commission had conditionally approved its proposed acquisition of rival Gillette.
New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 0.48, to 7632.98.
American Stock Exchange index rose 5.52, to 1736.89.
Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 2.77, to 667.80.
NYSE: 2.09 billion shares, down from 2.17 billion on Thursday. Advancers outnumbered decliners 8 to 5.
Nasdaq: 1.64 billion shares, down from 1.82 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners 3 to 2.
Crude oil for November delivery: $66.24, down 55 cents.
Gold for current delivery: $469.00 a troy ounce, down from $472.30 on Thursday.