Stocks finish mostly flat in final trading session of Q3.
U.S. stocks traded mixed on Friday, capping off a solid quarter on a softer note as political uncertainty dominated the spotlight.
The large-cap S&P 500 Index (NYSEARCA:SPY) sifted between gains and losses before closing relatively flat at 2,913.98. Six of 11 primary sectors reported declines, with financials and materials posting the biggest losses. On the opposite side of the spectrum, shares of utilities and real estate companies posted the biggest gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) finished slightly higher, gaining 0.1% to close at 26,458.31. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (NYSEARCA:QQQ) also edged up 0.1% to finish at 8,046.35.
A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (NYSEARCA:VXX) declined slightly on Friday. The so-called “fear index” edged down 2.3% to close at 12.12.
In economic data, U.S. personal income from all sources rose 0.3% in August, coming in slightly below forecasts of 0.4%, the Department of Commerce reported Friday. Personal spending climbed 0.3% during the same month, matching forecasts.
The core personal consumption expenditure (PCE) index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation, rose 2% year-over-year.
Energy prices notched fresh four-year highs on Friday, as markets braced for a bigger than expected shortfall in global crude supplies once Iranian sanctions are reintroduced. ICE Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose $1.00, or 1.2%, to $82.72 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for November delivery rose $1.18, or 1.6%, to $73.30 a barrel.
The Final Word: The S&P 500 and Dow booked gains during the month of September, defying a historical downtrend. Corporate earnings season and trade negotiations will dominate the spotlight at the start of Q4.