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Stocks end the week on a high note, propelled by tech shares

New York Stock Exchange
U.S. stocks have made a strong showing this year, with all four major indexes posting gains of at least 10%.
(Richard Drew / Associated Press)

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose Friday to a new 2019 high as resurgent technology stocks closed out their best week in four months with solid gains.

Financial, healthcare and consumer stocks also helped lift the market. The gains erased losses from last week, which was the S&P 500’s worst week of the year. The benchmark index finished Friday at 2,822.48 points, up 12.6% for the year and down 4% from the record high set in September.

Technology stocks had their best week since November. Apple gained 7.6% this week, its best showing since August. Industrial stocks lagged behind the overall market Friday.

Investors bought bonds after a report on industrial production showed a second consecutive monthly decline in manufacturing in the United States. That sent the yield on the 10-year Treasury lower: It fell to 2.59% from 2.63%.

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But global political turmoil over trade and other issues still weighs on investors, said Katie Nixon, chief investment officer at Northern Trust Wealth Management.

“There’s so much importance placed on these geopolitical risks,” Nixon said. “They have to be resolved for the market to go forward.”

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 138.93 points, or 0.5%, on Friday to 25,848.87. The Nasdaq composite climbed 57.62 points, or 0.8%, to 7,688.53. The S&P 500’s gain was 14 points, or 0.5%.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies ticked up 3.90 points, or 0.3%, to 1,553.54.

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U.S. stocks have made a strong showing this year, with all four major indexes posting gains of at least 10%.

Investors seemed encouraged by reports that the United States and China could be making progress on negotiations aimed at resolving their trade war. China’s congress endorsed an investment law that aims to address complaints, levied by the United States and others, that its system is rigged against foreign companies. The U.S. claims China forces companies to share technology in order to do business in the country.

Traders are also confident that the Federal Reserve will hold off on any action that could jeopardize economic growth. The U.S. central bank, which signaled in January that it was hitting pause on its interest-rate hikes amid a slowdown in global growth and the absence of inflation pressures, is having a meeting of policymakers next week.

Economists expect the Fed will keep rates on hold. Friday’s surge in bond purchases also indicates that investors don’t foresee the Fed raising interest rates anytime soon.

Chipmakers made up six of Friday’s top 10 gainers in the S&P 500.

Broadcom jumped 8.2%, leading the technology-sector rally, after the chipmaker reported a better-than-expected rise in fourth-quarter profit and told investors that it would return $12 billion to stockholders this year through dividends and buybacks.

Broadcom CEO Hock E. Tan expects the chip business to hit a low in the second quarter and then notch growth during the second half of the year. That assessment helped give other chipmakers’ stocks a lift. Intel rose 1.7%. Nvidia advanced 2.6%.

Healthcare, financial and consumer stocks also notched solid gains. Biogen climbed 2.6%, Morgan Stanley rose 1.5%, and Amazon rose 1.6%.

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Ulta Beauty jumped 8.3% after the cosmetics retailer issued quarterly results that beat Wall Street’s forecasts.

Facebook dropped 2.5% on news that two of the social media giant’s longtime executives are resigning following the company’s recent announcement that it will shift its emphasis to private messaging and away from public sharing.

Tesla skidded 5% after the electric car maker unveiled its Model Y, a crossover that starts at $39,000. The unveiling comes as Tesla tries to expand into the mainstream and cash in on the red-hot market for SUVs.

Boeing shares recovered from an early slide to end with a gain of 1.5% after a report suggested the aircraft manufacturer will roll out a software fix for its 737 Max airplanes this month. The stock has been hammered this week after a 737 Max flown by Ethiopian Airlines crashed Sunday in Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board. A similar Boeing plane flown by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia in October, killing 189 people. The United States and other countries have since grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8.

Boeing fell 10.3% this week but is still up 14.9% for the year.

The dollar fell to 111.48 yen from 111.73 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1320 from $1.1300.

U.S. crude oil slipped 0.2% to $58.52 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, edged down 0.1% to $67.16 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline rose 0.4% to $1.86 a gallon. Heating oil fell 0.9% to $1.97 a gallon. Natural gas slid 2.1% to $2.80 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose 0.6% to $1,302.90 an ounce. Silver rose 1% to $15.32 an ounce. Copper rose 0.5% to $2.91 a pound.

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