Stocks Closed Lower on Friday, But Strong Quarter

Stocks closed its best third quarter since 2010 after a wave of central bank actions sparked a dramatic reversal in equity markets, but signs of weakness in the economy pushed stocks lower on Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 48.84 points, or 0.36 percent, to end at 13,437.13. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 6.48 points, or 0.45 percent, to finish at 1,440.67. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 20.37 points, or 0.65 percent, to close at 3,116.23. For the third quarter, the S&P 500 gained 5.8 percent, while the Dow rose 4.3 percent and the Nasdaq climbed 6.2 percent.

Spain’s troubled banks need an extra €59.3 billion ($76.3 billion) to survive a serious economic downturn, according to an independent audit released Friday by the Bank of Spain. The stress tests’ findings will help Spain decide how much it will use of the €100 billion loan facility offered by the 16 euro countries.

Rising prices pushed consumers to spend more in August but their paychecks barely increased. Personal expenditures climbed 0.5% in August from a month earlier—the biggest increase in six months, the Commerce Department said Friday.

U.S. corn and wheat stockpiles shrank far more than expected this summer, the government reported on Friday, reigniting a rally in grain prices on fears that strong demand and drought-decimated crops will keep markets tight. Corn futures surged nearly 6 percent on the Chicago Board of Trade after the

U.S. Department of Agriculture reported corn stocks on September 1 were below 1 billion bushels for the first time in eight years. Wheat futures rose more than 5 percent, topping $9 a bushel after the data showed stockpiles were 7 percent less than forecast.

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