The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed out the week and the day in positive territory, snapping a three-session skid but the broader market ended flat to lower as investors grew skittish about buying equities heading into the weekend. The three main equity benchmarks had been trading within shouting distance of all-time record highs but concerns about the 2020 presidential election, a lack of progress on fresh fiscal relief for American workers and businesses, and the spread of COVID-19 overseas and domestically has given pause to bullish sentiment. On Friday, data showing better-than-expected retail sales in September, along with an improvement in consumer sentiment, relieved some fears about a slow economic recovery; but the fight over a fresh round of stimulus and worries about the trajectory of the deadly disease limited buying sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 112 points, or 0.4%, at 28,606, and posted a weekly gain of just under 0.1%; the S&P 500 index [: SPX] closed up barely positive at 3,484 and booked a weekly gain of 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index closed the session off 0.4% for the day but booked a weekly gain of 0.8%. U.S. retail sales in September rose 1.9%, compared to consensus estimates from economists polled by Dow Jones for 0.7%. Meanwhile, a preliminary reading of consumer sentiment index edged up to 81.2 this month from a revised 80.4 in September, the University of Michigan said Friday. In corporate news, shares of Boeing Co. finished nearly 2% higher after the European Union’s aviation regulator said the 737 Max is safe enough to fly again in Europe by the end of 2020, Bloomberg News reported.
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