Stocks Mixed on Weaker Spending and Sentiment Results

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks closed mixed Friday following weaker-than-expected consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of overall economic activity. A consumer sentiment reading was also weaker. Yet markets were looking to close historically weak May on a high, with the S&P 500 popping nearly 2% over the month. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.11% to 16,717.11, while the Nasdaq was 0.13% lower to 4,242.62. The S&P 500 settled higher by 0.18% to 1,923.57.

  • Consumers cut back in April for the first time in a year, with spending falling 0.1% -- the first drop in 12 months. The result follows a 1% jump in March. Personal income rose 0.3% in April after a 0.5% March gain. The Chicago PMI accelerated in May, rising to 65.5 from 63.0 in April. It is the highest level of the PMI since October and beat expectations for a 2-point fall to 61. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment reading for May notched 81.9, a fall from the April result of 84.1.
  • International markets were mixed with the FTSE 100 down 0.28% and the DAX off 0.01%. At the close, the Nikkei 225 had dropped 0.34%, and the Hong Kong Hang Seng added 0.31%.
  • Shares of Big Lots (BIG) spiked 13.1% following a positive earnings report. The company earned 50 cents a share, 6 cents higher than analysts' estimates.
  • Infoblox (BLOX) tanked more than 36% after the networks company guided for fourth-quarter earnings of break-even to 2 cents a share, below a consensus EPS of 5 cents. Separately, CEO Robert Thomas also announced his resignation.
  • Express (EXPR) shares dropped 7.7% after the clothing retailer warned a challenging first half would weigh on full-year results. Management guided for earnings between 74 cents and 90 cents a share missing forecasts of $1.14. 
  • BNP Paribas shares fell more than 2% as investors reacted to the prospect of around $10 billion in fines amid allegations the bank defied U.S. sanctions.

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--By Jane Searle in New York.

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