Dow, S&P 500 dip, ending weak third quarter

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STORY: Wall Street’s main indexes ended mixed on Friday as investors parsed through the latest inflation data and weighed its potential effect on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.

The Dow dipped nearly half a percent, the S&P 500 shed roughly a quarter of a percent but the Nasdaq ticked up more than a tenth of a percent.

Data released Friday showed the personal consumption expenditures price index, excluding the volatile food and energy components, increased 3.9% on an annual basis for August… the first time in over two years it had fallen below 4%.

“So, look, core PC under 4% is a win for the Fed….”

Ross Mayfield, Investment Strategy Analyst at Baird Wealth Management, says this could prevent any further rate hikes from the Fed.

“They're going to look at the whole package of data, so other inflation, labor market data, but it's a tick in their favor at this point. And I think it edges them towards pausing at the next few meetings, if anything.”

The highly anticipated PCE data followed last week's hawkish long-term outlook for rates from the Fed, which has rattled stocks.

September, overall, was rough for equities, as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq posted their biggest monthly percentage drops of the year.

Among Friday’s movers, Nike shares jumped more than six-and-a-half percent after the world's largest sportswear maker topped Wall Street estimates for first-quarter profit.

And shares of Carnival fell 5% after the cruise operator's lingering cost pressures outweighed its upbeat forecast.