U.S. stocks edged higher on Friday as earnings reports came in mixed and consumer spending rose in March due to high food and gas prices.
The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday that both consumer income and spending rose in March. The consumer income rose 0.5 percent while consumer spending increased 0.6 percent, rising for a ninth straight month, mainly driven by surging prices of food and gasoline, after an upwardly revised 0.9 percent advance in February.
Also, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey showed U.S. consumer sentiment rose in April as inflation still worried consumers. The final reading on the overall index came in at 69.8, up from 67.5 in March.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday called for more lending to people and small businesses in lower-income neighborhoods, saying that U.S. economy is far from where the Americans would like it to be, and many people and neighborhoods are in danger of being left behind.
As of earnings reports, Chevron Corp, the second largest U.S. oil company, reported a jump in quarterly earnings, lifted by high oil prices and refining profit. The shares reversed its earlier losses and edged higher in closing session.
The Blackberry marker Research in Motion, dipped more than 14 percent on Friday, after it cut its first-quarter outlook.