Stocks Ended Mostly Higher

U.S. stocks finished mostly higher on Friday after moving between small gains and losses throughout the trading session. All three major benchmark indexes posted gains for the week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average scoring its fifth-straight weekly gain. The Dow climbed 22.56 points, or 0.18%, to end at 12,231.11. The S&P 500 rose 0.5 point, or 0.04%, to end at 1,285.09, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped by 1.48 points, or 0.05%, to 2,737.15, with both indexes ending 3.8% higher for the week.

Americans’ incomes have stagnated for three straight months. Yet they boosted their spending in September 0.6 percent — three times the increase in August. Consumers earned only 0.1 percent last month. And after adjusting for inflation, their after-tax incomes fell 0.1 percent last month — the third straight monthly decline.

On the defensive over a half-billion-dollar loan to a now-bankrupt solar company, the White House on Friday ordered an independent review of similar loans made by the Energy Department, its latest response to rising criticism over Solyndra Inc.

Oil prices dropped Friday as investors acknowledged that Europe needs to tighten its belt for years to work through a credit crisis and factory production stalled in Japan. Benchmark crude fell 64 cents to end the day at $93.32 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price foreign oil, lost $2.17 to finish at $109.91 per barrel in London.

Clear Channel Communications Inc. said Friday that it had dismissed some on-air and off-air staff earlier this week, in a reshaping of its regional and local programming that should enable it to seek out advertisers focused on areas wider than a single market.

Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. plans to cut 5,000 jobs, about 10 percent of its workforce in North America and Europe, as it faces soft demand and higher costs for materials. The world’s biggest appliance maker also on Friday cut its 2011 earnings outlook drastically and reported third-quarter results that missed expectations.

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