NEW YORK, New York - U.S. stocks finished the third quarter with a bang on Friday. Despite a volatile start, the Nasdaq Composite had its best quarter in 3 years.
The U.S. Commerce Department revealed Friday that consumer spending increased only modestly in February while inflation ebbed slightly.
"The equity market seems to be delighted with the slight tick lower in inflation, as it should be. It underscores that the Fed's campaign is, in fact, working, albeit slowly," Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina, told Reuters news agency Friday.
Economists, at quarter's ending are now forecasting a slight upturn in economic growth to 3.25 percent, despite concerns raised over recent bank failures.
"A credit crunch is never a good thing, but a credit crunch when the economy is growing at a 3 percent pace is far less threatening than one when the economy is near stall speed," Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in New York told Reuters Friday. "The combination of strong growth expectations and time before the May meeting mean policy focus should be back on inflation."
Stocks traded positively throughout the day in the U.S. Friday and surged towards the close.
The Nasdaq Composite accelerated 208.43 points or 1.74 percent to 12,221.91.
The Standard and Poor's 500 increased 58.40 points or 1.44 percent to 4,109.23.
The Dow Jones industrials index jumped 415.12 points or 1.26 percent to 33,274.15.
In Friday's foreign exchange markets, the Euro closed lower against the U.S. dollar, while the dollar strengthened against the Japanese yen and Swiss franc. The Canadian dollar also saw a slight gain against the greenback, while the British pound fell in value.
The EURUSD pair closed at 1.0846, down 0.53 percent or 0.00582 from the previous day's close. The USDJPY pair gained 0.09 percent or 0.123, closing at 132.75. Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar edged up 0.05 percent or 0.00065 to 1.3528.
On the other hand, the British pound was fetching 1.2332 towards the U.S. close Friday, down 0.42 percent or 0.00523 from the previous day's close. The Swiss franc eased 0.26 percent to 0.9149. The Australian dollar slipped to 0.6684, for a loss of 0.41 percent. Finally, the New Zealand dollar weakened 0.16 percent to 0.6252.
World stock markets closed mixed Friday, with some markets showing slight gains while others experienced losses. The FTSE 100 in the UK closed up 0.15 percent at 7,631.74, with the DAX PERFORMANCE-INDEX in Germany also up by 0.69 percent at 15,628.84. Meanwhile, the CAC 40 in France closed up 0.81 percent at 7,322.39.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed up 0.93 percent at 28,041.48, while the HANG SENG INDEX in Hong Kong closed up 0.45 percent at 20,400.11. The SSE Composite Index in China closed up 0.36 percent at 3,272.86, while the Shenzhen Index closed up 0.64 percent at 11,726.40.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.78 percent at 7,177.80, while the ALL ORDINARIES closed up 0.83 percent at 7,373.30.
In Europe, the ESTX 50 PR.EUR closed up 0.69 percent at 4,315.05 on Friday, while the Euronext 100 Index closed up 0.72 percent at 1,360.26. The BEL 20 in Belgium closed up 0.42 percent at 3,793.19, and the STI Index in Singapore closed up 0.05 percent at 3,258.90.
In India, the S&P BSE SENSEX closed up 1.78 percent at 58,991.52, while the IDX COMPOSITE in Indonesia closed down 0.05 percent at 6,805.28. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI in Malaysia closed down 0.14 percent at 1,422.59.
In New Zealand on Friday, the S&P/NZX 50 INDEX GROSS ( GROSS) closed down 0.41 percent at 11,884.50, while the KOSPI Composite Index in South Korea closed up 0.97 percent at 2,476.86.
The S&P/TSX Composite index in Canada closed at 20,099.89, up 0.80 percent. The Top 40 USD Net TRI Index in South Africa closed at 4,271.14, down 0.16 percent. Meanwhile, the Russell 2000 in the U.S. closed at 1,802.48, up 1.93 percent, or thirty-four point one zero.
The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the stock market's expectation of volatility, closed at 18.70, down 1.68 percent.
The MOEX Russia Index closed at 2,222.51, down 0.19 percent, while the NYSE COMPOSITE (DJ) in the US closed at 15,374.91, up 1.15 percent. The NYSE AMEX COMPOSITE INDEX in the US closed at 4,274.24, up 0.61 percent, or twenty-six point one two.
The TSEC weighted index in Taiwan closed at 15,868.06, up 0.12 percent.
In Brazil, the IBOVESPA closed at 101,882.20, down 1.77 percent. The IPC MEXICO in Mexico closed at 53,904.00, down 0.54 percent. The S&P/CLX IPSA in Chile closed at 5,058.88, while the MERVAL in Argentina closed at 38,390.84, up 0.61 percent. The TA-125 in Israel closed at 1,725.82, up 0.32 percent.