Stocks Hit Holiday On Up Note

Stocks entered the long Labor Day weekend on a slight up note Friday as new data showed signs of improvement in the manufacturing sector.

The data driving Friday’s surge came from the August Chicago Purchasing Managers index, which hit a 15-month high of 58.9, well above predictions of a 56 reading.

Economists said the Chicago report, along with other recent regional manufacturing trends, bodes well for a national manufacturer’s report due to be released Tuesday.

The Dow Jones rose 41 points, or 0.4%, to 9,416, while the Nasdaq gained 10 points, or 0.6%, to 1,811. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.5% to 1008. Volume was light as many traders cut out early for the holiday weekend.

Among tech shares, Chipmaker Intel Corp. gained 32 cents, or 1.13%, to 28.62. It was reported Friday that company sources say Intel will outline plans for a new high-end Itanium chip named Tanglewood at its Developer Forum conference in September. The Itanium chip will have up to 16 processors on one slice of silicon, company sources said.

Storage vendor Oracle gained 6 cents, or 0.47%, to 12.83. Oracle executives on Friday said the company would continue its efforts to purchase business software maker PeopleSoft, which on Friday bought the remaining shares of J.D. Edwards. The merger is designed to thwart Oracle’s attempted takeover of PeopleSoft.

Software giant Microsoft inched up 1 cent to 26.52 after trading in the red for most of the day. MSFT shares may have benefited from the news that a suspect had been arrested in the MSBlast virus case. The virus attacks computers via a vulnerability in the Windows operating system.

The U.S. markets will be closed on Monday.

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