The Fed is buying $85 billion in bonds each month, and the consensus among investors is that the central bank will decide to reduce its buying to about $75 billion or $80 billion a month. The question is not whether the Fed will cut back on its bond buying but by how much, said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist with Brown Brothers Harriman Wealth Management.
The price of gold fell $22 to $1,308.60 an ounce. Oil slipped 39 cents to $108.21 a barrel. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.89 percent from 2.91 percent late Thursday.
September has been very strong for stocks so far. The Dow is up 3.8 percent and the S&P 500 has gained 3.4 percent.
In corporate news, Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrances surged $17.37, or 17 percent, to $117.50. The company reported a 28-percent increase in quarterly profit, thanks to stronger sales at its growing chain of stores.
Supermarket chain Safeway rose $1.61, or 6 percent, to $28.20 after analysts at Credit Suisse upgraded the stock to “outperform” from “underperform.”
Galena Biopharma plunged 34 cents, or 14.9 percent, to $1.94 after the company sold 17.5 million shares of stock at $2 a share.