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Stocks rally broadly, ending a choppy week slightly higher

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
(Bryan R. Smith / AFP/Getty Images)

Wall Street capped several days of choppy trading Friday with a broad rally that gave the stock market a modest gain for the week.

Technology companies, banks and healthcare stocks accounted for much of the market’s gains. Energy companies rose along with crude oil prices.

The rally came as bond yields pulled back for the second day in a row after reaching four-year highs earlier in the week. Wednesday’s spike in yields, which sent the 10-year Treasury yield nearing 3%, sent stocks down sharply.

“There was a lot of concern about what happened if bond yields got above 3%, and that probably added to some of the jitters earlier this week,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird. “Now you have a day when yields are moving away from that. At least for now, that probably lets equity traders breathe a sigh of relief and pushes stocks up a little.”

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The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 43.34 points, or 1.6%, to 2,747.30 on Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 347.51 points, or 1.4%, to 25,309.99. The Nasdaq composite jumped 127.30 points, or 1.8%, to 7,337.39. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 19.20 points, or 1.3%, to 1,549.19.

The S&P 500, a key barometer for the stock market, had been on course to finish the week lower after losses on Tuesday snapped a six-day winning streak. All told, the S&P 500 eked out a 0.6% gain for the week. The Dow and Nasdaq finished with gains of 0.4% and 1.4%, respectively.

Bond prices rose Friday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.87% from 2.92%. The yield declined for the second day in a row after climbing as high as 2.95% on Wednesday, the highest level since January 2014. That spike came after the Federal Reserve’s minutes from its January policy meeting showed bullish sentiment among policymakers, confirming their intention to raise interest rates this year.

Earlier this month, global stock markets, particularly those in the United States, suffered big losses amid mounting concerns over the pace of inflation and Fed policy tightening.

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“We’re at the mercy of people’s changing opinions day-to-day on inflation and the Fed, but over the long run, we would expect the market to emerge higher,” said Craig Callahan, president of ICON Advisers.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise led the gainers among technology stocks Friday.

The data center hardware company surged 10.5% to $18.14 after it reported a strong fiscal first quarter, raised its estimates for the rest of the year and said it would increase its quarterly dividend.

Its former corporate sibling, printer and PC maker HP, rose 3.5% to $22.13 after HP’s quarterly earnings and revenue beat analyst expectations. Its forecasts for the rest of the year were also better than expected.

Banks and other financial firms also posted solid gains. Capital One Financial advanced 2.5% to $99.04.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals led the healthcare sector’s winners, climbing 5.3% to $165.90.

Blue Buffalo Pet Products soared 17.2% to $40 after packaged goods company General Mills agreed to buy it for $40 a share, or $8 billion. General Mills shares fell 3.6% to $52.98.

BJ’s Restaurants leaped 12.8% to $43.65 after the pizza and beer chain, based in Huntington Beach, posted quarterly results that beat Wall Street estimates.

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Benchmark U.S. crude rose 78 cents, or 1.2%, to settle at $63.55 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 92 cents, or 1.4%, to $67.31 a barrel in London.

The uptick in oil prices helped lift energy-sector stocks. Newfield Exploration led the pack, climbing 5.1% to $24.66.

In other energy futures trading, heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.97 a gallon. Wholesale gasoline rose 4 cents to $1.81 a gallon. Natural gas was flat at $2.63 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The dollar rose to 106.75 yen from 106.64 yen. The euro fell to $1.2295 from $1.2329.

Gold fell $2.40 to $1,330.30 an ounce. Silver fell 10 cents to $16.48 an ounce. Copper fell 3 cents to $3.21 a pound.

Major stock indexes in Europe closed mostly higher. Germany’s DAX index and France’s CAC 40 each gained 0.2%. London’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.1%. In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.7%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1% and Seoul’s Kospi jumped 1.5%.


UPDATES:

3:10 p.m.: This article was updated throughout with closing prices, context and analyst comment.

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This article was originally published at 7:35 a.m.


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