Stocks mostly rose on Friday after the government reported that Americans spent more in February even though their incomes hardly grew. The gain extended the strongest start for the stock market since 1998.

In morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 40 points to 13,186. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose five points to 1,408. The Nasdaq composite dropped eight points to 3,087.

The advance pushed the Dow close to an 8 percent gain for the first quarter, which ends Friday, and the S&P close to a 12 percent gain. Both are the strongest three-month starts in 14 years.

The Commerce Department said consumer spending rose in February at the fastest rate in seven months. It's been driven by strong hiring over the last three months, the best jobs growth in two years.

Americans spent more even though their income has stagnated for two months after counting taxes and inflation. Some of the increased spending has gone to gasoline, which is the most expensive on record for this time of year.

Shares of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. rose 3.6 percent a day after the Canadian company said it would return to focusing on corporate customers and shake up its management to try to get profits growing again.

Best Buy was down almost 3 percent as investors continued to digest its plan to cut stores and staff as it shifts toward smaller stores in an effort to compete with online retailers. Best Buy stock lost almost 7 percent on Thursday.

European markets bounced back after a rocky week that included a national strike in Spain. On Friday, the country unveiled a draft 2012 budget that seeks to cut the deficit by $36 billion through spending cuts and a tax hike on large companies. But Spain also plans to cut government ministry spending by an average of nearly 17 percent.

Germany's DAX was up 0.9 percent at 6,935 while the CAC-40 in France rose 1.2 percent to 3,420. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.5 percent to 5,772.

Asian markets took a hit after some poor factory production numbers from Japan.