Market Wrap: Wall Street Rallies After 5 Down Days

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Richard Drew/AP
By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks rallied Friday after five sessions of losses, helped by a sharp rebound in energy shares and data that signaled the U.S. economy was on track for solid growth.

U.S. consumer sentiment hit its highest in 11 years in January, while factory output rose last month, reports showed.

All 10 of the S&P 500 sectors ended higher, though energy led the charge, rising 3.2 percent. U.S. crude oil futures settled up 5.3 percent after the International Energy Agency forecast the market downtrend would end. Brent gained 3.9 percent.

%VIRTUAL-pullquote-Along with that came sturdier oil prices, and I think that's the elixir for ultimately better equity prices.%"You had a pretty strong consumer confidence report that seemed to turn the market right around," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.

"Along with that came sturdier oil prices, and I think that's the elixir for ultimately better equity prices ... dampening concern that low oil prices are a reflection of weak demand."

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 190.86 points, or 1.1 percent, to 17,511.57, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 26.75 points, or 1.34 percent, to 2,019.42 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 63.56 points, or 1.39 percent, to 4,634.38.

For the week, the Dow was down 1.3 percent, the S&P 500 lost 1.2 percent and the Nasdaq fell 1.5 percent.

Retail foreign exchange broker FXCM (FXCM) said it may be in breach of regulatory capital requirements following client losses related to Switzerland's move to ditch the cap on the Swiss franc's value.

Leucadia National (LUK), which owns investment bank Jefferies, will give $300 million to FXCM to meet regulatory capital requirements. Shares of both FXCM and Leucadia were halted during the session. After the close, FXCM shares resumed trading and were down 69.3 percent at $3.88, while Leucadia fell 0.9 percent.

Investors continued to assess effects of the move by the Swiss National Bank on Thursday to lift the cap on the Swiss franc. The decision could foreshadow a large stimulus by the European Central Bank next week that would further weaken the euro, or be a safeguard against a possible Greek exit from the eurozone that could potentially destabilize the bloc.

Among the biggest energy gainers, shares of Schlumberger (SLB), the world's No. 1 oilfield services provider, jumped 6.1 percent to $81.33 after it said the oil price drop was likely to have a "significantly more dramatic" impact on North America than on the rest of the world. Schlumberger derives two-thirds of its revenue from operations outside North America.

About 7.7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, above the 7.4 billion average for the last five sessions, according to BATS Global Markets.

NYSE advancing issues outnumbered decliners 2,521 to 575, for a 4.38-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 2,075 issues rose and 669 fell, for a 3.10-to-1 ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 32 new 52-week highs and 15 new lows; the Nasdaq composite recorded 40 new highs and 108 lows.

What to watch Monday:
  • U.S. financial markets are closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.
The 7 Best Things to Buy in January
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Market Wrap: Wall Street Rallies After 5 Down Days

At the end of December, gyms are mostly empty. The beginning of January turns gyms into madhouses. While it may seem smart for gyms to hike prices in the new year, they do the opposite to persuade you to join their facility versus their competitors'. In fact, says that membership fees waived by gyms in January can save you over $100.

On that same note, January is an excellent month to purchase those yoga mats, ellipticals, DVDs, treadmills, dumbbells, workout apparel and anything else that will help kick you into shape. These fitness necessities are often marked up to 70 percent off the retail price both online and in stores. Also, check out deal websites such as Groupon and Living Social for an uptick in fitness-related steals throughout January, and head to resale shops for gently used fitness equipment, especially toward the end of the month when people donate their old stuff to make room for new goods.

January is arguably the best month to buy winter clothing. For starters, retailers gear up to showcase spring apparel and, to help move product, they drop prices on those cable-knit sweaters, denim goods, scarves, boots, coats and more. Secondly, January is an excellent month to buy winter apparel because you still get plenty of wear out of whatever you buy. Note that the further into January we go, the deeper the discounts.

OK, so you don't actually buy credit cards, but you can certainly apply for a new one. In the spirit of new year's resolutions, which often include battling debt, we suggest taking advantage of the many credit card promotions this month. For example, numerous credit cards offer 0 percent annual percentage rate on balance transfers this time of year, providing you with six months to a year of interest-free debt repayment. If you have a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance and paying it down aggressively. Other credit card promotions include an increase in cash back and bonus miles.

Yep, it's tax season. While the thought is sure to induce a few groans, know that there are at least a few deals to be had along the way. In January through late March, you can find tax filing software for up to 50 percent off the retail price. In-person tax filing services also hold promotions, so look out for specials. We suggest signing up for emails or joining social media pages to stay in the loop on all the above.

If you have any plans to make over your home in the near future, now's the perfect time to pounce. Big retailers -- including Target (TGT), Home Depot (HD), Crate & Barrel, Sears (SHLD) and JCPenney (JCP) -- heavily discount their furniture and home goods collections in January, says The website says you can "expect to see furniture clearance sales that take between 40 percent to 75 percent off regular prices."

Philadelphia department store owner John Wannamaker started the white sale tradition in 1878 (adapted from those fashionable French). He recognized that sales dried up after the holidays and that people just didn't get out of the house and buy much during the dreary, cold months. So he ran white sales, named after the pristine snow and the products discounted. These white sales still take place to this day. Expect to find sheets, towels, curtains, napkins, and more for between 30 percent and 60 percent off the retail price.

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