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Stocks Begin October on Positive Note

The Dow finishes with a modest gain as investors take their cue from heartening data on the health of the consumer. Gregg Greenberg has The Real Story.

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Stocks began October with modest gains on Friday as investors took their cue from heartening data on the health of the consumer.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

gained 41 points, or 0.4%, to 10,829. The

S&P 500

added 5 points, or 0.4%, to 1146 and the

Nasdaq

ended ahead by 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2370.

Energy stocks led the markets higher as crude oil prices rose to as high as $81 a barrel on Friday, fueled by a weaker dollar. Shares of

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

and

Chevron

(CVX) - Get Report

were up 1.2% and 1.1% respectively at $62.52 and $81.94.

Occidental Petroleum

(OXY) - Get Report

surged 3.2% to $80.78.

Tech and capital goods sectors were among the underperformers. Among the Dow components,

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

,

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

and

3M

(MMM) - Get Report

outperformed the blue-chip index while

Hewlett Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

was the biggest loser.

Investors had a lot to digest this morning as a series of economic reports provided a mixed outlook on the economy.

The Commerce Department said early Friday that

personal incomes rose 0.5% in August , up from an increase of 0.2% previously while personal spending gained 0.4% in August compared with similar growth in July. Economists had been expecting personal incomes to increase by 0.3%, and personal spending was slated to inch 0.3% higher, according to Briefing.com.

Then the

Institute for Supply Management's survey of purchasing managers index fell to 54.4 in September from August's level of 56.3. The figure also missed analysts' expectations for a September reading of 54.8, according to Briefing.com.

Construction spending , meanwhile, grew 0.4% in August, exceeding expectations for a decline of 0.7%, and turning positive after dropping 1.4% in July.

And in its final read on

September consumer sentiment , the University of Michigan said its index fell to 68.2, exceeding expectations for a reading of 67 but falling from August's reading of 68.9.

"It still looks like we have a "government aided" recovery, evident in today's numbers," economists at PNC wrote in their report, noting that the increase in personal income was partly aided by the boost to unemployment benefits. Construction spending too was boosted by government funded projects, the report said.

The market also took note of comments by

William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who called current economic conditions "unsatisfactory" and said

further stimulus measures by the

Federal Reserve

are warranted.

In other market news, the

Securities and Exchange Commission

released the preliminary findings of its "flash crash" investigation, with a

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single trade becoming the focus of its investigation.

Meanwhile,

global markets responded to news that Chinese industrial production expanded at a strong pace, mitigating a disappointing read on Europe's purchasing managers' index, which fell in September.

Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was closed for a national holiday, and Japan's Nikkei inched 0.4% higher. The FTSE in London gained 0.8%, while the DAX in Frankfurt lost 0.3%.

In other news,

President Obama announced the resignation of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel , who would be running for the office of Mayor of Chicago. He will be replaced by senior adviser Pete Rouse.

In company news,

Sirius XM Radio

(SIRI) - Get Report

saw shares rise 3.3% to $1.24 after it said it expects to end 2010 with 20.1 million subscribers.

Shares of

Gymboree

(GYMB)

jumped 20% higher to $49.86 on a

Wall Street Journal

report that the company is exploring the possibility of itself to private investors.

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

and

PNC Financial Services

(PNC) - Get Report

were among some of the banks hacked in an international cybercrime identity theft attack, according to the

Journal

. Their stocks were up 1.9% to $38.81, and 1.7% to $52.84, respectively.

Shares of

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

shed 3.1% to $40.77 after the company named Leo Apotheker its new CEO on Thursday. Apotheker's previous experience includes 20 years at software company

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

.

Spanish oil and gas company

Repsol

and China-based oil company

Sinopec

(SNP) - Get Report

formed a Brazil joint venture worth $17.8 billion. Shares of Sinopec listed on the

New York Stock Exchange

added 0.8% to $89.94. Repsol gained 6.7% to $27.47

Shares of

Ford

(F) - Get Report

rose 0.2% to $12.26 after it reported a 46% increase in sales for September.

Shares of

Skechers

(SKX) - Get Report

was down 4% to $22.54 on a cautious outlook from brokerage Wedbush Morgan

The November crude oil contract added $2.1 to settle at $79.97 a barrel, after rising past $80 a barrel.

Elsewhere in commodity markets, the December gold contract settled higher by $8.20, at $1,317.80 an ounce.

The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies with the dollar index down by 0.8%, while the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was weakening 1/32, lifting the yield to 2.513.

--Written by Melinda Peer and Shanthi Venkataraman in New York

.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.