US stocks post fourth-straight rally - best week since November
Wall Street stock indices continued a nearly week-long rally on Friday, capping the best week since November amid some signs that the global economy may be stabilizing, dpa reported.
The rally followed gains in global markets as some major US banks have posted unexpected gains in the first two months of the year. The heads of Citigroup Inc, Bank of America Corp and JPMorgan Chase & Co said this week that they were profitable at the start of 2009.
Some other indicators of economic health - including US retail shares - were better than expected this week, while China on Friday indicated it will boost public spending to halt its own economic slide.
Health care shares also helped Wall Street close higher on Friday on merger talks in the industry. Merck & Co jumped 13 per cent on its plans to buy Schering-Plough Corp.
The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 53.92 points, or 0.75 per cent, to 7,223.98. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 5.81 per cent, or 0.77 per cent, to 756.55. The technology- heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 5.4 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 1,431.50.
For the week, the Dow industrials have surged 9 per cent, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both jumped 11 per cent. The rally has pulled US markets back from 12-year lows reached last week.
"At this point, we'll take a good week anytime, any way we can get it," Keith Wirtz, president and chief investment officer at Fifth Third Asset Management, told The Wall Street Journal. "We do expect this rally to be tested, though."
The US currency inched lower against the euro to 77.37 from 77.42 euro cents on Thursday. The dollar rose against the Japanese currency to 98.01 yen from 97.72 yen.