Money Matters - Simplified

Rising oil prices

Grain futures mixed Friday

Chicago -- Wheat and soybeans closed higher, while corn and oats lost ground on the Chicago Board of Trade Friday.

Corn was off 1 1/2 to off 2 1/4, soybeans were up 8 3/4 to up 10 1/2, wheat was up 15 to up 18 3/4 and oats were off 1 3/4 to off 2 1/4.

Corn futures dropped as the dollar bounded higher, the dollar index rising 0.92 percent. Wheat prices found support from speculative buying and concerns over dry weather that pushed the July contract above $8. Soybean prices jumped with support from rising oil prices, although prices for meal declined.

The prices:

Corn: Dec. 5.87 3/4, off 2 1/4; Mar 6.01 3/4, off 2; May 6.08 1/2, off 1 1/2; Jul 6.11 3/4, off 1 3/4.

U.S. markets post small gains Friday

New York -- U.S. markets finished a flat week with a flat performance Friday on a day void of headline-producing government reports.

Rising oil prices, a bellwether for inflation, are holding back investors although rapid inflation has yet to take hold. Technology stocks fell after National Semiconductor reported its sales fell by $281 million in its fiscal fourth quarter.

By close, the Dow Jones industrial average added 28.34 points, or 0.32
percent, to 8,799.26. The DJIA finished the week 36.13 points ahead.

The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 0.14 percent Friday, 1.32 points, to 946.21.

The Nasdaq composite index shed 3.57 points, 0.19 percent, to 1,858.80.