Friday rally produces strong weekly gains
NEW YORK - U.S. stocks rallied Friday, buoyed by encouraging economic data from Germany and China, as American consumers headed to retail stores to take advantage of Black Friday promotions.
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 172.79 points, or 1.4 percent, to end at 13,009.69, with all 30 of its components in positive territory for the day. For the week, the Dow rose 3.4 percent - its best week since the week ending June 8.
The technology components in the Dow outperformed on Friday. Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft Corp. were the top gainers, rising 4.2 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively. Cisco Systems Inc. and Intel Corp. also posted strong gains.
The S&P 500 index gained 18.12 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,409.15. For the week, the index gained 3.6 percent - its largest weekly percentage gain since June 8.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite advanced 40.30 points, or 1.4 percent, to end at 2,966.85, leaving it up 4 percent for the week.
Shares of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. rallied nearly 14 percent.
"It's traditional you get on Thanksgiving week a positive bias three-quarters of the time," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott. "With an absence of actors, it doesn't take much to push prices around." The stock market closed at 1 p.m. on Friday, earlier than usual, after trading was shut on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.
"The August effect is in play in that a lot of players are out of town on the shortened day, so I wouldn't read too much into today's action," said Marty Leclerc, principal at Barrack Yard Advisors.
The retail sector was in the spotlight, as consumers hit shops across the nation to take advantage of Black Friday sales. Early indications pointed to momentum for U.S. retailers as they head into the all-important holiday season.
Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. gained 1.9 percent and those of Target Corp. rose 1.2 percent.
In the absence of U.S. economic data on Friday, global economic reports buoyed the mood on Wall Street. Germany's Ifo business-climate index rose to 101.4 in November from 100 in October, beating expectations for a decline. The rise in November came after six successive declines and showed the German economy is holding up in the face of the eurozone debt crisis, the Ifo Institute said on Friday.
In Asia, the HSBC purchasing-managers index on Thursday showed that China's manufacturing sector expanded in November for the first time in 13 months, indicating that growth will pick up in the fourth quarter.
The U.S. dollar weakened, boosting the appeal of dollar-denominated commodities. The euro rallied 0.8 percent to $1.297.
Gold and oil futures posted gains, while the 10-year Treasury yield was unchanged at 1.69 percent.
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