Stocks March Higher, Ending Their Best Week So Far This Year 


The stock market closed out its best week of the year Friday as big gains by retailers and technology companies pushed major indexes upward.

Stocks faded as Friday wore on, but they still finished higher. The S&P 500 index climbed almost 3.3 percent this week. By just a hair, that was its biggest weekly gain in 2015.

Stocks climbed Monday and Wednesday as the U.S. market didn’t seem to be affected by unsettling international events, including last Friday’s terrorist attack in Paris. Instead, investors responded to signs the U.S. economy remains strong.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 91.06 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,823.81. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 7.93 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,089.17. The Nasdaq composite index gained 31.28 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,104.92. The Dow turned positive for the year by a fraction of a point.

Retailers rallied after solid earnings reports from discount chain Ross Stores and footwear seller Foot Locker. Retail stocks got pummeled this month after weak reports from Macy’s and Nordstrom caused investors to worry that the end-of-the-year shopping season would be a bust. But some retailers are doing well.

Athletic apparel and footwear maker Nike said it will raise its dividend, buy back $12 billion of its own shares and split its stock. Nike, which has nearly tripled over the last five years, rose $6.87, or 5.5 percent, to $132.65.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, led a rally in tech stocks and made its biggest gain in almost a month. The company said Wednesday that former VMWare CEO Diane Green will run Google’s commercial technology business. That suggests Google wants to strengthen its enterprise business, which is a big profit center for Amazon and Microsoft but an area where Google has lagged. Alphabet shares rose $17.06, or 2.2 percent, to $777.

HP Enterprise, which sells commercial computer systems, software and tech services, rose 43 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $14.21. VeriSign added $3.70, or 4.3 percent, to $90.30.

TurboTax maker Intuit climbed after it reported strong quarterly revenue and gave a forecast for the current quarter that was better than expected. The stock added $5.78, or 5.9 percent, to $103.20.

Chipotle Mexican Grill had its biggest one-day loss in three years. The shares dropped $75.32, or 12.3 percent, to $536.19 after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said an E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle locations has been found in three more states.

U.S. crude lost 15 cents to $40.39 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 48 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $44.66 a barrel in London. This week U.S. crude dipped under $40 a barrel for the first time in almost three months.

Wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $1.29 a gallon. Heating oil was also little changed at $1.371 a gallon. Natural gas fell 13 cents to $2.145 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.26 percent from 2.25 percent late Thursday. The euro fell to $1.0657 from $1.0731. The dollar edged up to 122.87 yen from 122.86 yen.

Metals prices continued to slide. The price of gold fell $1.60 to $1,076.30 an ounce. Silver slipped 12.6 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $14.10 an ounce. Copper declined 2.2 cents, or 1 percent, to $2.06 a pound.