U.S. stocks gain on upbeat consumer sentiment number; Dow up 0.11%

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Investing.com - U.S. stocks dismissed escalating tensions in Ukraine and rose on Friday on the coattails of a better-than-expected consumer sentiment report.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow 30 rose 0.11%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.33%, while the NASDAQ Composite index rose 0.50%.

The Volatility S&P 500 index, which measures the outlook for market volatility, was down 0.58% at 11.98.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan revised consumer sentiment index came in at 82.5 this month, up from a preliminary reading of 79.2 and exceeding expectations for a reading of 80.1.

July's final reading came in at 81.8, and the uptick in the final August reading bolstered stock prices by keeping expectations firm that the Federal Reserve will close stimulus programs around October and hike interest rates some time in 2015.

Separately, data revealed that the Chicago-area purchasing managers' index rose to 64.3 in August from 52.6 in July, beating expectations for an increase to 56.0.

On a less positive note, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that U.S. personal spending fell 0.1% last month, confounding expectations for a 0.2% rise, after an increase of 0.4% in June, though Wall Street took the data in stride.

On Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that U.S. economy grew at a revised annualized rate of 4.2%, up from a preliminary estimate of 4.0% and better than market forecasts for a downward revision to 3.9%.

Geopolitical issues dampened spirits on Wall Street at times albeit slightly.

Reports that Russian troops have entered Ukraine to assist pro-Moscow separatists have rattled nerves due to concerns that the conflict will dampen the global economy-especially if Russia sees fresh sanctions-and drag on U.S. recovery as a consequence.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), up 1.18%, Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD), up 1.09%, and Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ), up 0.83%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX), down 1.02%, Visa Inc (NYSE:V), down 0.92%, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT), down 0.49%.

European indices, meanwhile, ended the day higher.

After the close of European trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.02%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.34%, while Germany's DAX rose 0.08%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 rose 0.20%.

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