Wall St. Ends Volatile Week on High Note

(Reuters) -
A specialist trader works at the post where Halliburton is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S. May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A specialist trader on the floor of the NYSE. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

Wall Street rallied on Friday, led by tech stocks on the back of Applied Materials’ strong profit forecast, ending a volatile week on a positive note.

The S&P 500 eked out gains for the week after three straight weeks of losses, while the Nasdaq snapped a four-week losing streak. Despite gains on Friday, the Dow ended its fourth consecutive week in the red.

The tech sector led the way on Friday, lifted by a higher-than-expected profit forecast from chip company Applied Materials, which jumped 13.8 percent. Apple rose 1.1 percent and the shares snapped a four-week losing streak.

“The tech sector, which is pretty big, is having a pretty good day, led by the Applied Materials earnings,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Federal Reserve surprised investors when the central bank’s minutes, released on Wednesday, opened the door to a rate increase in June, roiling financial markets.

Traders now give a 30-percent chance of a rate hike at the Fed’s June meeting, according to the CME FedWatch tool, about twice as high as they expected on Tuesday.

“The market is starting to come to grips with the Fed potentially moving in June,” said Walter Todd, chief investment officer at Greenwood Capital Associates in Greenwood, South Carolina. “I think it’s potentially a positive dynamic if the market can actually go up in the face of the Fed probability going up.”

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 65.54 points, or 0.38 percent, to 17,500.94, the S&P 500 gained 12.28 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,052.32 and the Nasdaq Composite added 57.03 points, or 1.21 percent, to 4,769.56.

Nine of ten S&P sectors ended higher.

The S&P is marginally positive for 2016. The benchmark index has rebounded some 13 percent off of February lows, but is little changed in recent weeks amid mixed corporate earnings and economic data.

Data on Friday showed U.S. home resales rose more than expected in April, suggesting the economy continues to gather pace during the second quarter.

Economic data will garner most of the attention next week, with investors placing a heavy weight on a host of reports as they try and determine the likelihood of a June rate hike.

In other corporate results, Deere shares fell 5.5 percent to $77.74. The farm equipment maker cut its profit outlook further and reported lower quarterly earnings.

Campbell Soup shares tumbled 6.4 percent to $59.90 after disappointing sales.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,447 to 580, for a 4.22-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 2,151 issues rose and 667 fell for a 3.22-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 14 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 33 new highs and 31 new lows.