U.S. stocks closed higher Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing up 100 points in the last half-hour of trading after fluctuating for most of the day. Following weeks of stock gyrations fueled by jitters about China’s slowing economic growth, the Standard & Poor's 500 index and Nasdaq composite recorded their best week since July while the Dow posted its best week since March.
Market professionals are turning their attention to the Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated meeting next Wednesday and Thursday, in which policymakers will debate whether to raise U.S. interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) rose 102.69 points, or 0.63 percent, to close at 16,433.09. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (INDEXSP:.INX) edged up 8.76 points, or 0.45 percent, to end at 1,961.05. The Nasdaq composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) added 26.09 points, or 0.54 percent, to finish at 4,822.34.
For the week, the S&P 500 index added 39 points, or 2 percent. The Nasdaq composite gained 139 points, or 3 percent. The Dow gained 327 points, or 2 percent.
Dow component McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) led the index higher, adding 2.3 percent, while Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) was the biggest laggard, shedding nearly 1 percent.
Eight of the 10 S&P 500 sectors closed higher, led by gains in healthcare and utility stocks. Energy was the largest decliner, falling roughly 1 percent after U.S. oil prices slid below $45 a barrel.
Crude fell more than 2 percent Friday after Goldman Sachs cut its price outlook for next year, citing oversupply and concerns over China's economy. The firm lowered its 2016 forecast for U.S. crude to $45 a barrel from $57 previously, and Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil prices, to $49.50 from $62.
Following the report, West Texas Intermediate crude, the benchmark for U.S. oil prices, traded 2 percent lower to $44.80 per barrel for October delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On the London ICE Futures Exchange, Brent crude lost 1.5 percent to $48.15.
Global shares traded mixed Friday amid uncertainty surrounding the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Sept. 16-17 meeting. Investors sorted through a series of data points Friday, looking for further clues as to whether the Fed will have ammunition to hike rates, which have hovered at historic lows since the global financial crisis in 2008.
U.S. consumer sentiment sank in early September, according to the University of Michigan survey. The reading of 85.7 was off from the end of August reading of 91.9. Analysts were looking for a much more modest decline.
The producer price index for total final demand was flat in August, after increasing in each of the three previous months. Final demand goods prices fell 0.6 percent in August, including a 3.3 percent drop in energy goods as oil prices again moved lower, after stabilizing for a few months, the Labor Department said Friday. The consensus among analysts was for a 0.1 percent decline, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.