The Nasdaq Composite saw the worst week in 17 months, after a week-long selloff in biotechs dragged the index down.
The S&P 500 ended the day 8.58 points, or 0.5%, higher at 1,857.62, and recorded a 0.5% loss for the week. With only one trading session left this month, the benchmark index is set to finish March roughly where it started.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 58.83 points at 16,323.06 and is 0.1% higher on the week.
The Nasdaq Composite finished the day up 4.53 points, or 0.1%, at 4,155.76. The tech-heavy index is down 2.8% for the week, its worst performance since Oct 2012.
The economic data was as expected, but compared to the last few months there is an improvement, suggesting that the economy’s slowdown this year is weather-related and temporary “This was enough good news for stocks to go higher this morning.
Consumer spending rose in February at the fastest rate since November as Americans spent more on health care and utilities, but in a negative sign, purchases of big-ticket items fell for the third straight month. Personal income also ticked up in February.
Next week will offer a barrage of economic data, which are expected to have less weather-related distortions and provide a better view of the economy.
Separately, consumer sentiment declined to a final March reading of 80 -- the lowest level since November -- from a final February level of 81.6, according to a Friday report on a gauge from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters. A preliminary March reading pegged the level at 79.9. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a final March level of 81. Economists watch sentiment levels to get a feeling for the direction of consumer spending
Heavy losses among biotech stocks dragged the Nasdaq Composite down. The Nasdaq Biotechnology index fell 2.8%. Biogen Idec, Inc. and Gilead Sciences, Inc. were among the top five losers on the S&P 500, falling 5% and 4.9% respectively.
In corporate news, BlackBerry Ltd. shares slumped 7% after reporting an adjusted per-share loss that was less than expected. The company said it anticipates maintaining a strong cash position and is targeting break-even cash-flow results by the end of fiscal 2015.
Finish Line Inc. rose 2.2% after the athletic-gear retailer reported its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings rose 25%.
Amazon.com Inc. shares gave up earlier gains and closed flat after reports that the company plans to offer free streaming television and music videos to its customers. The firm had previously planned to charge for the members-only service. Amazon has denied the reports.
Shares of Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc. jumped 13% after the high-end home furnishings retailer topped Wall Street estimates and issued a healthy outlook.
There were also a number of initial public offerings, with some more successful than others. CBS Outdoor Americas rose 5.4% on the first day of trading, but Everyday Health, Inc fell 3.6% on debut.
With a slew of data due next week, and with the global data in the offing, it is going to be a very volatile week, if negative news were to creep in, then we would see a correction taking place soon.