Stocks Climb; S&P 500 on Pace to Snap Two-Week Losing Streak

stocks, markets, Wall Streets

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks ticked higher on Friday, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was on pace for its first winning week in the last three.

It’s been a relatively quiet week so far, with a calendar light on market-moving events and fewer shares trading hands than is typical. Investors had been waiting to hear from the heads of two of the world’s most influential central banks, who are speaking at a symposium Friday, though many analysts expect minimal reaction from the market.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index didn’t move much after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen began her speech in the morning, though the dollar’s value dipped against other currencies.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was up 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,444, as of noon Eastern time. Gains were widespread, with 10 of the 11 sectors that make up the index higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 41 points, or 0.2 percent, to 21,824, the Nasdaq composite slipped 3, or less than 0.1 percent, to 6,268 and the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks rose nearly 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,376.

CENTRAL BANK WATCH: Economists and central bankers from around the world have gathered in Wyoming for a symposium that has previously been the source of fireworks for markets. Central banks have used the forum to signal big changes in policy, but most economists are expecting no big surprises this year.

Up first was the Fed’s Yellen. In her speech, which began at 10 a.m. Eastern time, she focused on regulation of the financial industry and gave no indication of changes to interest-rate policy.

The European Central Bank’s head, Mario Draghi, will speak at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Europe’s economy has been improving, and investors are waiting to hear if Draghi will give any hint about when his central bank may turn the spigot on its stimulus.

IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT: Autodesk, which makes design software, jumped to one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500 after reporting stronger revenue and a milder loss for the latest quarter than analysts had expected. It rose $4.22, or 3.8 percent, to $114.83.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index picked up 0.5 percent, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 1.2 percent and South Korea’s Kospi edged up by 0.1 percent. European markets were mixed. The CAC 40 in France fell 0.1 percent, the German DAX was close to flat and the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.1 percent.

MEANDERING WAYS: The stock market has 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 is on pace for a 0.8-percent rise this week, following losses of 0.6 percent and 1.4 percent the last two weeks.

President Donald Trump plans to make a push next week to overhaul the tax system, with a stop in Springfield, Missouri. 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.

YIELDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.17 percent from 2.20 percent late Thursday. The two-year yield held steady at 1.33 percent, and the 30-year yield slipped to 2.76 percent from 2.77 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 109.26 Japanese yen from 109.51 yen late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1874 from $1.1806, and the British pound rose to $1.2876 from $1.2802.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude added 31 cents to $47.74 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 11 cents to $51.77 per barrel.

Wholesale gasoline rose a penny to $1.56 per gallon, heating oil was virtually unchanged at $1.62 per gallon and natural gas fell 6 cents to $2.92 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose $3.10 to $1,295.10 per ounce, silver rose 8 cents to $17.05 per ounce and copper slipped a penny to $3.02 per pound.