NEW YORK (AP) – Traders put in more of the “buy” orders Friday that propelled the market in April to its best one-month performance in nine years.

Stocks ended higher on a day of quiet back-and-forth trading as investors determined that mixed economic data and earnings reports were reason enough to extend the gains seen in March and April.

Wall Street has been growing more optimistic about the economy stabilizing, but the reports Friday brought a reminder that business conditions remain difficult and that a recovery in the economy is likely to be gradual.

Companies reported mixed results. MasterCard Inc.’s first-quarter revenue fell short of expectations and two major insurance companies posted losses for the first quarter. Reports from manufacturer Manitowoc Co. and computer security software maker McAfee Inc. topped expectations.

Rosy earnings reports have been a major driver of the stock market over the past few weeks. The S&P 500 index, a broad measure of the market, rose 9.4 percent in April, the biggest monthly jump since March 2000.

“After the big run-up everyone is just trying to step back and trying to put their game plan together for the next month,” said Sean Simko, head of fixed income management at SEI Investments in Philadelphia. “It’s healthy for the market to take a break.”

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 44.29, or 0.5 percent, to 8,212.41.

Broader market measures also posted gains. The S&P 500 index rose 4.71, or 0.5 percent, to 877.52, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 1.90, or 0.1 percent, to 1,719.20.


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