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Wall Street ends week higher

Investors, feeling more confident after the market’s huge three-day rally, refrained from making major moves Friday, allowing the three major stock indexes to all end the week higher for the first time in three months.

The Dow industrials scored 700 points in their first four-day winning streak in nearly seven months.

Technology enjoyed a strong weekly advance, but on Friday was pulled lower in large part by a downgrade in the storage sector.

"There are a number of issues that are giving investors a little more confidence about putting their money to work in stocks," said Charles G. Crane, strategist for Victory SBSF Capital Management Inc. in New York. "I think there is a realization that earnings, while maybe not on a rocket-ship trajectory, are trending up."

The Dow closed up 33.43, or 0.4 percent, at 8,745.45. Combined with triple-digit surges Tuesday through Thursday, the Dow climbed 701.82 in four days.

The blue-chip index hadn’t had four consecutive gains since the four sessions that ended Jan. 28 when it netted 90 points.

The broader market was higher for the week, but mixed on Friday.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3.18, or 0.4 percent, to 908.64, after a three-day advance of 70.86. The Nasdaq composite index fell 10.40, or 0.8 percent, to 1,306.12, following a three-day gain of 110.51.

All three indexes ended the week higher for the first time in three months, or since the week that ended May 17, having experienced heavy selling based on fears about earnings and corporate bookkeeping scandals.

For the week, the Dow gained 5.2 percent, the S&P advanced 5.1 percent, and the Nasdaq rose 4.7 percent.

"As simple and basic as it sounds, the market has some positive momentum," said Tony Cecin, director of institutional trading at US Bancorp Piper Jaffray Inc. in Minneapolis. "It always swings on emotion."

The market’s recent strength comes as investors increasingly are confident that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates, either at next week’s meeting or in September, to keep the economy from falling back into recession.

An economic report Friday gave the market another reason to expect a rate cut.

The Labor Department reported that productivity grew at its slowest pace in a year, rising at an annual rate of 1.1 percent in the second quarter.

Economists’ expectations ranged from growth rate of 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent.

Analysts said investors also are feeling more in the mood to buy stocks as the Aug. 14 deadline approaches for the nation’s largest companies to certify their financial results.

"We are at a point where the number of negatives out there, and there are still many, are at least neutralized by a growing number of positives," Crane said.

Among Friday’s winners, Pixar Animation Studios Inc., producer of the movies Monsters Inc. and Toy Story, advanced $1.70, to $43.24, after raising its 2002 earnings outlook.

Clothing retailer Aeropostale Co. rose $1.30, to $17.15, after US Bancorp Piper Jaffray Inc. raised its recommendation on the stock to "strong buy."

In technology, however, storage stocks were weak following downgrades of Emulex Corp. by Baltimore-based Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc. and Goldman Sachs & Co.

Emulex dropped $8.34, or 35 percent, to $15.27, while Brocade Communications Corp. stumbled $1.92, to $15.36.

Advancing issues narrowly outnumbered decliners about 8-to-7 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was light, at 1.25 billion shares, below Thursday’s 1.65 billion.

The Russell 2000 index, which tracks smaller-company stocks, fell 1.39, or 0.4 percent, to 388.45.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average finished Friday up 2 percent.

In Europe, France’s CAC-40 rose 1.8 percent, Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 1.9 percent, and Germany’s DAX index climbed 2.2 percent.

On the Net:

New York Stock Exchange: http://www.nyse.comNasdaq Stock Market: http://www.nasdaq.com

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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