NEW YORK – U.S. blue-chip stocks edged up Friday while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell slightly in a quiet end to a strong October as investors bided their time before next week’s Federal Reserve meeting and midterm elections.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 4.54 points, or 0.04 percent, to 11,118.49.

Microsoft was among the Dow’s best performers with a 1.5 percent rise. The software giant’s fiscal first-quarter profit climbed 51 percent, benefiting from a continued strong response to the Windows 7 operating system and Office 2010. Microsoft is also the Dow’s best performer this month, up 9.1 percent over the period.

Chevron and Merck helped limit the Dow’s gain. Chevron fell 2.2 percent after the oil major’s third-quarter earnings and revenue missed analysts’ expectations. Merck dropped 1.7 percent as the company’s earnings excluding items topped Wall Street estimates, but revenue fell short of forecasts.

Friday, which marked the 81st anniversary of the stock market crash of 1929, or Black Tuesday, was the final trading day of what has been a strong October for stocks. The Dow climbed 3.06 percent during the month and the S&P 500 rose 3.69 percent — the Dow’s best October since 2006 and the S&P 500’s best October since 2003.

This month’s climb has come on expectations that next week the Federal Reserve will announce more stimulus and that midterm elections will lead to a Republican takeover of the U.S. House.