* Trading volumes light ahead of Labor Day holiday
* Major indexes notch fourth straight week of gains
* Chicago PMI, consumer sentiment both top forecasts
* Indexes up: Dow 0.11 pct, S&P 0.33 pct, Nasdaq 0.5 pct
(Updates to close)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Aug 29 U.S. stocks closed out a strong
month on a quiet note on Friday, with the S&P 500 posting a
modest gain to close at a new record as the latest positive data
helped extend a rally that had been briefly threatened by
Since falling to a near three-month low on Aug. 7, the S&P
500 has risen in 12 of the past 16 sessions. It is also closed
out its fourth straight weekly advance and sixth positive month
of the past seven. Friday's gains pushed the index to its latest
record close of 2,003.37, its third finish above 2,000 this
Wall Street initially lost ground after Britain introduced a
note of caution into the market, raising its international
terrorism threat level to the second highest in response to
possible attacks being planned in Syria and Iraq.
In the latest economic data, business activity in the U.S.
Midwest rebounded more than expected in August, signaling a
pickup in that region's economy. Separately, U.S. consumer
sentiment rose more than expected, according to the final August
reading from the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys
"We reached and closed above the 2,000 milestone this week
and that gets the mental obstacle out of the way," said Andre
Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in
Bernardsville, New Jersey.
"Economic numbers have been positive for the most part,
people are drawing comfort from these numbers, using them as a
justification for optimism."
Economic numbers have helped to offset geopolitical
concerns, with flare ups in the conflict between Ukraine and
Russia helping to curb gains. Ukraine called for full membership
in NATO on Friday, its strongest plea yet for Western military
help, after accusing Russia of sending in armored columns that
have driven back its forces on behalf of pro-Moscow rebels.
The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 18.88 points,
or 0.11 percent, to 17,098.45, the S&P 500 gained 6.63
points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,003.37 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 22.58 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,580.27.
For the week, the Dow rose 0.6 percent, the S&P advanced 0.7
percent and the Nasdaq was up 0.9 percent, the fourth
consecutive week of gains for all three. For the month of
August, the Dow added 3.2 percent, the S&P gained 3.8 percent
and the Nasdaq finished 4.8 percent higher. The S&P's gain
marked its best monthly performance since February.
The week's trading volume has been among the lightest of the
year, with action muted going into the Labor Day holiday in the
United States. Markets will be closed on Monday.
The U.S. shares of AstraZeneca rose 1.8
percent to close at $76.01 on news the company had moved its
immuno-oncology medicine MEDI-4736 into a mid-stage study in
Splunk Inc jumped 19.1 percent to $53.93 a day
after posting strong revenue growth and raising its full-year
Volume was thin, with about 3.8 billion shares traded on
U.S. exchanges, well below the 5.29 billion average so far this
month, according to data from BATS Global Markets.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by
2,117 to 890, while on the Nasdaq, advances beat declines 1,882
(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Meredith Mazzilli and Andre Grenon)