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U.S. stocks climbed on Friday, but markets fell sharply from session highs as investors remained skittish.
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As of 3:14 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 23.8 points, or 0.14%, to 16288, the S&P 500 rose 5.3 points, or 0.29%, to 1854 and the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.49 point, or 0.03%, to 4150.
The markets have spent much of the week zigzagging, although the S&P 500 is set to close the week with mild losses.
On the economic calendar, there are two reports out on the consumer.
The Commerce Department reported consumer spending rose 0.3% in February, matching Wall Street views, while personal income rose by the same margin, slightly higher than the 0.2% increase analysts expected.
Barclays chopped down its first-quarter GDP forecast to 2% from 2.4% on the back of downward revisions in the data. Goldman Sachs made a similar move, reducing its view to 1.5% from 1.6%.
Meanwhile, a reading on consumer sentiment from Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan shows consumer sentiment rose to 80 from 79.9 earlier in the month. Still, the reading is down from February’s final figure of 81.6.
Earlier in the day, traders got data that showed inflation in Spain stumbled 0.2% on an annual basis. There is speculation among some investors that concerns about inflation will prompt the European Central Bank to cut interest rates. The Federal Reserve already has rates at effectively 0%, but it could potentially slow the pace at which it is cutting its bond purchases.
On the corporate front, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) shares shot higher after the struggling smartphone maker posted a significantly narrower quarterly loss than expected. SAC Capital's Steve Cohen upped his stake in Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) to 5.3%.
Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures rose 28 cents, or 0.28%, to $101.57 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.05% to $2.941 a gallon. Gold fell $1.30, or 0.1%, to $1,293 a troy ounce.