Stocks gained on Friday as investors considered new economic data on consumer spending, income and inflation alongside stronger-than-expected data reports from earlier this week.
The S&P 500 advanced to end higher for a third consecutive day and close out the week higher. The Dow added more than 50 points, led by a jump in shares of Salesforce (CRM). That stock increased after the company delivered a full-year profit forecast that topped Wall Street’s expectations, underscoring continued expected strength in software spending even coming out of the pandemic. The Nasdaq also gained.
New government data on Friday showed personal income fell less than expected in April, but still pulled back after March’s stimulus-fueled surge. Personal income fell by 13.1% in April over March compared to the 14.2% drop expected. This followed a 20.9% increase during the prior month, which had been buoyed by the distribution of $1,400 stimulus checks to most Americans.
Personal spending moderated by the expected margin, rising by just 0.5% in April month-on-month following March’s upwardly revised 4.7% jump. Meanwhile, personal consumption expenditures rose by a greater-than-expected 3.6%, marking the biggest increase since 2008. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE was up 3.1% over last year, topping estimates for a 2.9% rise but mostly reflecting so-called base effects as inflation bounces from last year’s pandemic-depressed levels.