U.S. stocks locked gains on Friday to end the week on a high note, as positive economic data offset concerns that the government spending cuts, which is set to roll in at midnight, would hurt U.S. economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 35.17 points, or 0.25 percent, to 14,089.66. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index edged up 3.52 points, or 0.23 percent, to 1,518.20. The Nasdaq Composite Index went up 9.55 points, or 0.30 percent, to 3,169.74.
For the week, the Dow gained 0.6 percent, and the S&P 500 edged up 0.2 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 0.3 percent.
U.S. President Barack Obama and congressional leaders failed to reach a deal Friday to avoid the so-called sequester, across-the- board spending cuts. Though the spending cuts are widely regarded as a headwind for the world's largest economy, investors seemed not to care all that much.
The main stock indices dropped slightly in midday session on the downbeat fiscal negotiation news, but rebounded soon to trade into positive territory.
Wall Street regained momentum and the Dow rose toward the all- time high after in the afternoon trading on positive U.S. economic data.
The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the United States in February registered unexpectedly 54.2 percent, up from January's reading of 53.1 percent, indicating expansion in manufacturing for the third consecutive month, according to the Institute of Supply Management Friday.
On contrast, PMI from both China and the eurozone in February also released on Friday came disappointing, but failed to push U.S. stocks lower.
Besides, personal income decreased 3.6 percent in January compared to an increase of 2.6 percent in the prior month, while personal consumption expenditures rose 0.2 percent, higher than an increase of 0.1 percent, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Friday.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment for Americans released Friday climbed to 77.6 in February from 73.8 in January, also higher than the preliminary reading of 76.3. The improved consumer confidence pointed to a strong consumer spending which accounts for approximately 70 percent of the world's largest economy.
In corporate news, Best Buy shares rallied 4.57 percent to 17. 16 dollars as the operator of marketplace beat market on quarterly earnings and revenues after opening bell.
Groupon shares soared 12.58 percent to 5.10 dollars after the online coupon company fired its chief executive officer for disappointing fourth-quarter earning.
Salesforce.com shares surged 7.55 percent to 182.00 dollars after the business software company announced a better-than- expected quarterly profit.
Friday's gains followed a dip on Thursday, but February still see a climb for the main stock indices, with the Dow gaining 1.4 percent, and the S&P 500 edging up 1.1 percent and the Nasdaq advancing 0.6 percent.
The U.S. dollar strengthened against most of major currencies on Friday as U.S. automatic spending cuts set to take effect, which boosted demand for safe-haven assets.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery lost 1.37 dollars, or 1. 48 percent,to settle at 90.68 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday. Meanwhile, Brent crude for April delivery fell 92 cents, or 0.82 percent, to close at 110.46 dollars a barrel.