Stocks end week on stagnant note

Indexes edge up slightly as the Dow rises 20.48 points and the Nasdaq rises less than a point despite a Labor Department report that provides some positive economic news.

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Stock indexes Friday ended the day almost in the same position as where they began.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 20.48 points to 9,608, and the Nasdaq rose less than 1 point, up 0.71, to 1,828.48 after dipping in and out of negative territory earlier in Friday's session. CNET's technology indexes were mixed.

Profit warnings from bellwethers Walt Disney and Heinz weighed on the broader markets. Disney shares fell 51 cents, or 3 percent, to $18.33 and Heinz fell $2.92, or 7 percent, to $39.78.

The day's economic news helped ease fears about inflation and flagging consumer confidence. The Labor Department said Friday that the Producer Price Index, a measure of costs for wholesale goods, fell 1.6 percent in October, much steeper rate than the 0.4 percent economists were expecting, and the largest since the government began keeping records of the index in 1947.

The index is used as a gauge for inflation, with a rising figure indicating creeping inflation. The drop would indicate that despite economic woes, inflation worries have been kept at bay.

Excluding food and energy products, the core rate of wholesale prices declined 0.5 percent in October--the sharpest since a 1.2 percent fall in August 1993.

A report from the University of Michigan on consumer sentiment for November showed a surprise uptick in U.S. consumer sentiment in the early part of the month. The preliminary November index rose to 83.5, from 82.7 in October. Analysts had expected it to fall to 78.7.

The current-conditions index, the part of the sentiment report that gauges people's opinions about their present financial situation, rose to 94.9 in November from 94 in October.

In technology news, Palm rose 38 cents to $2.65 after news that CEO Carl Yankowski is resigning from the handheld computer maker. His resignation follows a year of financial disappointments and inventory problems.

Nvidia, up $3.36 at $53.11, reported Thursday night that its third quarter topped expectations. The maker of chips to enhance computer graphics also forecast strong results for the fiscal year.

Level 3 Communications rose 43 cents to $4.95 after news that it will be providing AT&T Wireless with bandwidth. The builder of fiber-optic networks said Thursday night that it had an agreement to provide network services to AT&T Wireless Services, but declined to disclose terms of the deal.

Among other actively traded shares, Intel fell 40 cents at $27.88, Oracle fell 7 cents at $15.38, and Microsoft rose 79 cents at $65.21.

AOL Time Warner fell 18 cents at $36.27, Yahoo rose 60 cents at $13.72, and Amazon.com was up 15 cents at $7.12.

Staff and Reuters contributed to this report.