Market Wrap: Wall Street Rises, Snaps 3-Week Losing Streak

Financial Markets Wall Street
Richard Drew/AP
By Caroline Valetkevitch

U.S. stocks rose Friday, pushing the Nasdaq to a 15-year high and helping the S&P 500 snap a three-week string of losses, following a pullback in the dollar, upbeat results from Nike and further biotech gains.

Recent sharp gains in the U.S. dollar have increased worries about the currency's impact on the earnings of U.S. multinationals. S&P 500 earnings projections for the first quarter and for 2015 have fallen sharply since Jan. 1.

Among early reporters, Nike (NKE) jumped 3.7 percent to $101.98 as the biggest boost to the Dow after it posted a quarterly profit that beat market estimates. The world's largest sportswear maker sold more higher-margin shoes and apparel but warned that the stronger dollar would take a toll on its current quarter.

The Nasdaq biotech index rose for an eighth straight session, gaining 7.4 percent since March 10. It climbed 0.5 percent Friday, powered by a 9.8 percent climb in Biogen Idec (BIIB) to $475.98. volume was high. About 9.2 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, compared with the 6.6 billion average for the month to date, according to data from BATS Global Markets.

%VIRTUAL-pullquote-The Federal Reserve's created a situation where there's very little alternative to equities, so the path of least resistance for stocks will be up for a period of time.%The company said its experimental drug became the first Alzheimer's treatment to significantly slow cognitive decline and reduce brain plaque in patients with early and mild forms of the disease, according to a small study.

The Nasdaq ended just 22 points from its record closing high, while the S&P 500 ended less than 10 points below its record close.

Largely behind this week's gains was a statement from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday that signaled a less aggressive approach to raising interest rates than investors had expected.

"The Federal Reserve's created a situation where there's very little alternative to equities, so the path of least resistance for stocks will be up for a period of time," said Robert Lutts, president, chief investment officer at Cabot Money Management in Salem, Massachusetts.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 168.62 points, or 0.94 percent, to 18,127.65, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GSPC) gained 18.79 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,108.06. The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 34.04 points, or 0.68 percent, to 5,026.42, a 15-year high.

For the week, the Dow gained 2.1 percent while the S&P 500 rose 2.7 percent, both snapping a three-week run of losses. The Nasdaq ended up 3.2 percent.

Wall Street's fear gauge, the CBOE Volatility Index, was down 7.5 percent.

Quadruple Witching

Stocks trimmed gains just ahead of the close, which marked the expiration of stock options, index options, index futures and single-stock futures, known as quadruple witching.

The dollar was off 1.5 percent against a basket of major currencies and registered its biggest weekly decline since 2011.

Tiffany & Co. (TIF) shares lost 4 percent to $82.93 after the upscale jeweler said quarterly sales fell for the first time in five years and are expected to decline further in the current quarter, hurt by the strong dollar.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,452 to 632, for a 3.88-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,661 issues rose and 1,116 fell for a 1.49-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The benchmark S&P 500 index posted 86 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq composite recorded 209 new highs and 31 new lows.

Volume was high. About 9.2 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, compared with the 6.6 billion daily average for the month to date, according to data from BATS Global Markets.

What to watch Monday:
  • The National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales for February at 10 a.m. Eastern time.
10 Clever Hacks That Save Both Money and the Earth
See Gallery
Market Wrap: Wall Street Rises, Snaps 3-Week Losing Streak
Take shorter showers. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load. Install a low-flow showerhead. Fix leaky faucets. Use rain barrels to collect water for your garden (check first to see if it's legal in your area).

Shaving an extra $10 per month from your water or energy bill adds up to $120 each year, a nice chunk of change to have back in your budget.
Live in an area of town that's not overly car-dependent. Walk or bike to work, or use public transit if it's available. Carpool with coworkers who live nearby. Set up a carpool schedule for getting the neighborhood kids to and from school and extracurricular activities.

Run all your errands in one trip rather than heading out several times a week to take care of a task here and a task there. This saves time, money and the environment –- a trifecta of savings.
Create a meal plan and a shopping list to make sure you only buy ingredients you'll eat before they spoil. Learn to use leftovers creatively. Compost food scrapes and food that has happened to expire, or find ways you may still be able to use it (like turning overripe bananas into banana bread).
Install a water purification tap on your faucet and buy a reusable water bottle you can take to the gym or carry while running errands. You can also buy reusable water bottles that have a filtration system built into the cap, so you can refill at a drinking fountain while you're out.
Buying fresh ingredients and making your own meals from scratch is another trifecta: It saves you money; it cuts back on the unnecessary waste caused by foods that are over-packaged; and it cuts back on the health risks of foods that are over-processed.
This motto of frugality from the Great Depression -– "use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without" -- is a smart one to follow today if you're on a mission to live in a way that's more Earth-friendly.

This motto encompasses everything from mending clothes rather than throwing them away to learning to fix your broken toaster rather than buying a new one. In our "disposable" society, this motto stands as an encouragement to be more resourceful and make the most of what you already own.
Whether it's in your backyard or on your kitchen windowsill, growing your own veggies and herbs gives you fresh, organic ingredients you don't have to waste gas driving to the store to purchase. Plus, you'll know your produce is totally organic and pesticide-free because you grew it yourself.
When you make your own cleaning products from simple household ingredients, you save money, cut back on packaging waste, and can make solutions that are safer for the environment and your family. Many household cleaning products get the job done just as well as expensive store-bought cleaners with harsh chemicals.
Why buy a DVD you'll only watch a once or a book that will just sit on your shelf once you've read it? Borrow media from your local library -- many libraries even have video games for your kids.

When you have a DIY project, borrow tools from your neighbors rather than buying a power washer or circular saw you'll probably never use again. Organize a clothing swap with your friends so you can trade items from each other's closets -- an outfit that's old and boring to you could be new and fresh to one of your friends.
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