Consumer confidence hit an unexpected one year low with unemployment remaining high, and consumers spending less to pay off their debts. The index fell to 66.6 in September. The index was consistently about 89 in the five years before the recession began in December 2007.
Oracle helped ease worries in the technology sector, when it reported a 50% increase in sales for its June-August quarter from the year-ago period, better than analysts’ expected. Intel caused concern 3 weeks ago, when it warned that it expected lower revenues on weaker-than-expected demand for consumer computers.
The maker of the Blackberry, Research in Motion also reported quarterly sales and profits that beat expectations. The company’s shares are down about 30% for the year because of the bans it faces in several countries.
In world markets, European indices ended lower while Asian markets ended mixed.
Gold for December delivery closed at $1,277.50 an ounce Friday, beating the previous closing record on Thursday. Earlier on Friday, the precious metal also hit a new intraday trading high of $1,284.40 an ounce.
Oil for October delivery fell 94 cents to $73.63 a barrel.
In bonds, the yield on the 10-year bond was higher at 2.75% from 2.76% late Thursday.