updated 11/14/2005 8:50:06 AM ET 2005-11-14T13:50:06

A continued slide in oil prices gave Wall Street a moderate advance Friday, with earnings from Dell Inc. and a labor deal at General Motors Corp. feeding the gains.

Major Market Indices

The market’s main stock indexes ended the week more than 1 percent higher, chalking up their third straight winning week.

Volume was light with the Treasury market closed for Veterans’ Day and many traders taking the day off. Friday’s advance was fueled by momentum from three weeks of strong gains, said Jay Suskind, head trader at Ryan, Beck & Co.

“I think it’s going to be tough to draw conclusions because of the lack of participation,” Suskind said. “Next week, you’ll start to hear about technical levels of the indices. People will be wondering, ’Can we break through and really continue this year-end rally?”’

Suskind added that lower oil is improving the consumer picture ahead of the critical holiday shopping season. A recent slide in crude futures has eased worries that record gas prices will eat into household income and weigh on year-end retail spending.

Meanwhile, technology stocks moved higher as Dell’s lackluster results were not as bad as feared, and media conglomerate News Corp. rose after its operating profit — before a hefty accounting charge — beat analysts’ estimates.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 45.94 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at its highest level since Aug. 3, having added more than 93 points in the previous session.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index gained 3.76 points, or 0.3 percent, Friday while the Nasdaq composite index climbed 5.79 points, or 0.3 percent.

The U.S. government bond market was closed for the holiday. On Thursday, a record Treasury auction carried bonds sharply higher after falling to eight-month lows last week. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, and gold prices inched upward.

Wall Street posted a third consecutive week of sturdy gains despite a shortage of economic or earnings data to guide investors. But next week brings key monthly reports on inflation, retail sales and industrial activity, as well as earnings from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Tyco International Ltd. Traders will be watching the numbers closely for any signs of where the market might be headed.

The Dow advanced 1.5 percent for the week, while the S&P 500 added 1.2 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 1.5 percent.

Ed Peters, chief investment strategist for PanAgora Asset Management, said he believes the market will make a final push — not just because of the traditional year-end rally, but also as positive economic numbers brighten investors’ moods.

“By December, we will have a much clearer idea of the impact of the hurricanes, and of higher oil prices,” Peters said. “I think the market will find it overreacted. We’ll probably see an improvement.”

Dell’s third-quarter profit dropped 28 percent, but without charges from restructuring and faulty components, its adjusted earnings matched reduced analysts’ expectations. Dell rose 19 cents to $29.40.

News Corp. said late Thursday it took a $433 million loss because of a $1 billion accounting charge related to the value of its television licenses. However, adjusted income gained 20 percent on strong revenue growth. News Corp. jumped 29 cents to $15.53.

Shares of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. slumped after the animated filmmaker fell to a quarterly deficit from a spate of one-time charges, including a writedown associated with the weak box-office performance of its latest release. DreamWorks slid $1.73 to $24.80.

The auto sector was revived by news that GM’s workers approved a deal raising the amount they pay for health benefits but keeping retiree coverage. Automakers have been scouring for ways to counter surging costs and lagging sales. GM shares, which tumbled 5 percent a day earlier on news it overstated 2001 earnings, gained 97 cents to $24.48.

DaimlerChrysler AG added 57 cents to $50.17 after the automaker said it sold its remaining 12.4 percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors Corp. to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for an undisclosed price. DaimlerChrysler once owned 37 percent of the Japanese car maker, but last year began cutting ties as Mitsubishi faced harsh criticism for hiding known auto defects.

Serena Software Inc. agreed to be taken private by Silver Lakes Partners in a $1.2 billion deal. The $24-per-share offer is a slight 1.5 percent premium to Serena’s Thursday closing price. Serena lost 15 cents to $23.50.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average advanced 0.5 percent. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.8 percent, Germany’s DAX index added 1.5 percent and France’s CAC-40 was higher by 1.3 percent.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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