Wall Street closed its best third quarter since 2010 after a wave of central bank actions sparked a dramatic reversal in equity markets, but signs of weakness in the economy drove stocks lower on Friday.
The S&P 500 climbed 5.9 percent over the past three months as central banks geared up to boost liquidity to markets and kick-start their flagging economies. The move has lifted the benchmark index as much as 17 percent this year, recently pushing the S&P to its best level in five years.
But on Friday, investors grappled with more disappointing U.S. economic data as business activity in the U.S. Midwest contracted for the first time since 2009. The news came on the heels of other weak regional manufacturing reports and a sharp drop in U.S. durable goods orders last month. ID:nL1E8KS5D8]
“The reality is that the fundamentals of the market certainly don’t support a 17-plus-percent run-up year to date, but with all the QE (quantitative easing) action, that has had a huge, huge impact,” said Oliver Pursche, president of Gary Goldberg Financial Services in Suffern, New York.