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S&P 500 breaks two-week losing streak as stocks mostly rise

S&P 500 breaks two-week losing streak as stocks mostly rise
The U.S. flag flies above the Wall Street entrance to the New York Stock Exchange. (Richard Drew / Associated Press)

Stocks mostly rose Friday, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index cruised to its first winning week in the last three.

It was a relatively quiet week: Fewer shares traded hands than usual, and the most anticipated event was a pair of speeches expected to create only a ripple in the market, if that. The annual symposium of central bankers in Wyoming followed through on those expectations.

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The S&P 500 rose 4.08 points, or 0.2%, to 2,443.05, and it barely budged off its course after Federal Reserve chief Janet L. Yellen gave her speech in Jackson Hole, Wyo., in the morning. The day's other headline event, a speech by European Central Bank head Mario Draghi, likewise did little to alter the course for stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average ticked up 30.27 points, or 0.1%, to 21,813.67. The Nasdaq composite slipped 5.68, or 0.1%, to 6,265.64. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks rose 3.58, or 0.3%, to 1,377.45.

Central bankers have used past gatherings of economists in Jackson Hole to signal big changes in policy, and investors were listening in case this time followed suit.

The biggest reaction to the speeches may have been in the currency market, where the dollar fell against rivals after Yellen's speech. Gains for the euro accelerated after Draghi's speech.

The dollar fell to 109.24 Japanese yen from 109.51 yen. The euro rose to $1.1888 from $1.1806, and the British pound rose to $1.2880 from $1.2802.

In the stock market, design-software company Autodesk climbed 3.9% to $114.97, one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500, after reporting stronger results for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

Stocks have been winding up and down since the S&P 500 set a record earlier this month. Stronger-than-expected earnings reports from big U.S. companies have helped to support the market, while worries about politics have intermittently chipped away at confidence.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.7% this week, following losses of 0.6% and 1.4% the last two weeks.

President Trump plans to make a push next week in his efforts to overhaul the tax system, with a stop scheduled in Springfield, Mo. Tax reform was one of the big pro-business policies that investors were banking on early this year after Republicans swept control of Washington, though expectations have dimmed in recent months.

"The market generally does not believe that anything is going to happen — it's maybe a 20% to 30% chance," said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors.

Orlando, though, thinks it's more likely that tax reform will happen, as Republicans look to notch a major win before the 2018 elections.

"Republicans have got to know that if they don't get anything done, they're toast," Orlando said. "This concept of self-preservation is a powerful one, in terms of keeping their jobs."

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.17% from 2.20%. The two-year yield held steady at 1.33%, and the 30-year yield fell to 2.75% from 2.77%.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 44 cents to settle at $47.87 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 37 cents to $52.41 a barrel.

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Wholesale gasoline stayed at $1.67 a gallon. Heating oil stayed at $1.62 a gallon. Natural gas fell 6 cents to $2.89 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose $5.90 to $1,297.90 an ounce. Silver rose 9 cents to $17.05 an ounce. Copper stayed at $3.03 a pound.

In overseas markets, Japan's Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.5%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 1.2% and South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.1%. European markets were weaker. The CAC 40 in France fell 0.2%, and the German DAX and the FTSE 100 in London both lost 0.1%.

UPDATES:

2 p.m.: This article was updated with closing prices, context and analyst comment.

8:45 a.m.: This article was updated with market prices and context.

This article was originally published at 6:35 a.m.

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