U.S. blue chips recovered ground on Friday as falling oil prices offset a profit warning from aluminum maker Alcoa Inc., while a tech rally was fueled by software maker Oracle Corp. The technology-laced Nasdaq gathered steam during the session after Oracle got the green light from a U.S. federal judge for its $7.7 billion proposed takeover of smaller rival software group PeopleSoft Inc. That spurred rises in software stocks, on speculation there could be more mergers in the industry. But Alcoa, the world's top producer of primary aluminum, fell almost 8 percent after warning a day earlier that third-quarter results would fall short of Wall Street expectations. The markets drew support from an almost $2 a barrel drop in NYMEX crude oil futures, helping a late rally in blue chips. The Dow Jones industrial average , down for most of the session, ended up 23.97 points, or 0.23 percent, at 10,313.07. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 5.54 points, or 0.50 percent, to 1,123.92. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 24.66 points, or 1.32 percent, at 1,894.31. For the week, both the Dow and S&P closed higher, marking the fifth consecutive week of gains for both indexes. The Dow ended up 0.52 percent, while the S&P advanced 0.92 percent. The Nasdaq ended the week 2.7 percent higher, its largest percentage increase in three weeks. Trading was active, with 1.26 billion shares changing hands on the New York Stock Exchange, below the 1.4 billion daily average for last year. About 1.6 billion shares were traded on Nasdaq, just below the 1.69 billion daily average last year. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE and Nasdaq by about 3-to-2, informs Reuters. According to the Forbes, sharp decline in oil prices and a surprise drop in wholesale prices pushed stocks higher in late trading Friday, easing investors' concerns about third quarter earnings after profit warnings from Dow component Alcoa Inc. and Visteon Corp. Oil prices fell sharply, once again moving below $43 per barrel after spiking higher on Thursday. A barrel of light crude was quoted at $42.83, down $1.78, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Investors welcomed the 0.1 percent drop in the Producer Price Index, the Labor Department's measure of wholesale prices, since the news was a strong sign that the economy has still managed to keep inflation at bay despite this summer's rising oil costs. The warning from Alcoa, which slashed its third-quarter forecast by about 40 percent, weighed heavily on investors' minds and kept the Dow Jones industrial average lower for most of the session. Automotive systems manufacturer Visteon's warnings drove new fears about the health of the auto market and consumer spending in general. United States blue chips recovered ground in Friday trade as falling oil prices offset a profit warning from aluminium maker Alcoa. Software maker Oracle fuelled a technology stocks rally. It has gotten the green light from a US federal judge for its $US7.7 billion proposed takeover of smaller rival software group PeopleSoft. That spurred rises in software stocks on speculation there could be more mergers in the industry. But Alcoa fell almost 8 per cent after warning a day earlier that third quarter results would fall short of Wall Street expectations. "Alcoa cited energy as a main reason for higher costs and also cited weaker than expected economic prospects in certain areas," Peter Boockvar, equity strategist with Miller Tabak and Co, said. "It's Alcoa today, but we've seen a bunch [of warnings] over the past week - and in a lot of different areas of the economy." The markets drew support from an almost $US2 a barrel drop in New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) crude oil futures, helping a late rally in blue chip stock. The Dow Jones industrial average was down for most of the session and ended 23.97 points higher at 10,313.07. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 5.54 points to 1,123.92 while the Nasdaq Composite Index also rose, closing 24.66 points higher to 1,894.31. NYMEX crude oil futures slid on Friday, settling at $US42.81 a barrel. Lower oil prices generally help stocks because they spell lower costs for companies and consumers, reports ABC News Online.
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