Stocks Close Slightly Higher

The producer price index had its biggest drop on record in October.
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Updated from 3:17 p.m. EST

Stocks closed slightly higher Friday following mixed economic news, but the major averages never moved far from their closing levels of the prior session.

The

Dow gained 20.48 points, or 0.2%, to 9608. The

Nasdaq rose less than a point to 1828.49, and the

S&P 500 tacked on 1.77 points, or 1.2%, to 1120.31.

The Labor Department said producer prices took their largest plunge on record in October, dropping 1.6% as companies were forced to reduce prices in the face of anemic demand. Excluding food and energy prices, the index fell 0.5%. The University of Michigan said consumer sentiment rose to 83.5 in November, well ahead of the consensus forecast of 78.5. The data imply that consumer moods are rebounding from the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.

In London, the FTSE 100 lost 0.6% to 5244, while Germany's Xetra DAX fell 1.7% to 4910. Japan's Nikkei index closed down 2% to 10,216 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.7% to 10,609.

Meanwhile, the threat of a credit downgrade has put

Dynegy's

(DYN)

overtures toward

Enron

(ENE)

on hold. Dynegy reportedly wants to wait to see if Moody's downgrades Enron's debt to junk status before deciding whether to go ahead with the offer. Dynegy climbed $2.25, or 6.2%, to $38.75, and Enron was up 25 cents, or 3%, to $8.66.

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

said third-quarter pro forma earnings fell to $53 million, or 3 cents a share, including various charges. Without the charges, the company earned $132 million, or 6 cents a share. Disney also said it expects operating income to fall 50% in its current first fiscal quarter from a year ago. The stock rose 15 cents, or 0.8% to $18.99.

Adelphia Communications

(ADLAC)

posted a third-quarter loss of $1.21 a share and said it will spin off its

Adelphia Business Solutions

(ABIZ)

unit. Shares of Adelphia lost $2.35, or 10.1% to $20.98.

The price of oil again rose sharply Friday after Russia indicated it might support OPEC proposals to cut production by 1.5 million barrels a day. December crude rose 5% in London on the report.

The bond market closed early, and the 10-year Treasury note lost 5/32 to 105 16/32, yielding 4.30%.