A late rebound gave Wall Street modest gains Friday as two acquisitions and upbeat earnings from Hewlett-Packard helped lift the major indexes...
NEW YORK — A late rebound gave Wall Street modest gains Friday as two acquisitions and upbeat earnings from Hewlett-Packard helped lift the major indexes to four-year highs. The major indexes had their fourth straight winning week.
At the close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 46.11 to 10,766.33, after retreating from a 76-point gain earlier in the day.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, added 10 cents Friday to close at $28.07, and gained 3.2 percent for the week. Boeing, also a Dow stock, fell 70 cents on Friday to $66.95. But for the week, it gained 2.4 percent.
Broader stock indicators reached their highest levels since mid-2001. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 5.47 at 1,248.27, and the Nasdaq composite rose 6.61 to 2,227.07.
For the week, the Dow added 0.8 percent, the S&P 500 rose 1.1 percent and the Nasdaq gained 1.1 percent. However, while the indexes are at four-year highs, their performance for the year-to-date is mediocre at best: The Dow is down 0.2 percent, the S&P 500 is up 3 percent and the Nasdaq is 2.4 percent higher.
Lower oil prices also help stocks, easing worries about consumer spending ahead of the holiday shopping season. But many analysts remain split over whether the market will have its usual year-end rally, and trading has become erratic as mixed economic and earnings data has left investors wondering about the economy’s health.
“You’ve had a pretty good run off the October bottoms,” said Russ Koesterich, senior portfolio manager at Barclays Global Investments. “But there really are no major catalysts to help support the market coming into these levels.
“You don’t want to read too much into a Friday of late November,” he added.
Crude futures fell to five-month lows although the approaching winter weather still has many concerned about oil and gas supplies. A barrel of light crude dropped 20 cents to settle at $56.14 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Although recent reports show the nation withstood the blows dealt by hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, investors continue to be uncertain about future economic growth and corporate profits. This week brought conflicting data on inflation and retail spending, raising concerns about critical holiday sales.
But improving economic and earnings figures have built a foundation on which the market could close out the year with double-digit gains, said Susan Malley, chief investment officer for Malley Associates Capital Management.
“Stocks are up 5 percent or 6 percent since their October lows, and the market has broadened considerably — instead of just energy, most of the sectors are performing,” Malley said. Coupled with recent upbeat news, “that makes me feel optimistic about the rest of the year.”
In earnings news, Hewlett-Packard said late Thursday that a $1.1 billion restructuring charge caused its quarterly profit to slide 62 percent. But its adjusted earnings handily beat Wall Street estimates as revenue grew across its computer, printer and software divisions. Hewlett-Packard jumped 40 cents to $29.40.