Stocks higher as trading opens

Associated Press

The stock market shifted back into rally mode Friday after analyst upgrades boosted investor optimism about the economy.

The Dow Jones industrials climbed 36 points to a new high for the year. For the week, they gained 215 points, their best weekly performance since July. The Dow and the other major stock indexes have risen in nine of the last 11 trading sessions.

The market got a boost after Barclay’s Capital raised its projection for economic growth for the first quarter of 2010 to 5% from 3%. The economy has contracted sharply since the recession in late 2007, but many economists predict it will show positive growth for the third quarter, which ends Sept. 30.


Dow component Procter & Gamble pulled the blue-chip gauge higher after an analyst upgraded it, citing in part the consumer products giant’s price-cutting strategy. P&G; shares gained 3.2%.

The market’s climb Friday came a day after a mild pullback that did little to quiet analysts’ forecasts of a break in the recent rally.

The Dow rose 36.28 points, or 0.4%, to 9,820.20, its highest close since Oct. 6, when it finished at 9,956. The index is up 50% from its 12-year low reached in early March and up 12% year to date.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 2.81 points, or 0.3%, to 1,068.30, while the Nasdaq composite index advanced 6.11 points, or 0.3%, to 2,132.86.

The Russell 2,000 index of smaller companies rose 0.4%.

Three stocks rose for every two that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

For the week, the Dow gained 2.2%, while the S&P; 500 and the Nasdaq rose 2.5% and the Russell 2,000 surged 4.1%.