Market nears 5th week of gains as health stocks bounce back


NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. stocks are rising in Friday afternoon trading, wiping out most of their losses from earlier this year as they stretch their recent winning streak to its fifth week. Health care stocks are recovering after a punishing week. Starwood Hotels and Columbia Pipeline Group are climbing after they each agreed to be acquired.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 127 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,608 as of 3:12 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 10 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,050. After weeks of gains, the Dow and S&P 500 are a little higher than they were at the end of 2015. The Nasdaq composite edged up 24 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,798. The Nasdaq is still down 4 percent this year.

PIPELINE FLOWING: Columbia Pipeline Group climbed after TransCanada Corp. agreed to buy the company for $10 billion, or $25.50 per share, in an attempt to expand further into the U.S. Columbia Pipeline stock advanced $1.39, or 5.9 percent, to $24.90.

HEALTH CARE RECOVERY: Health care stocks regained some ground after a rough week. Hospital operator Tenet Healthcare rose $1.59, or 6 percent, to $28.16 and prescription drug distributor McKesson gained $6, or 4 percent, to $157.69. Drug companies also ticked upward after days of losses, including Biogen, which rose $3.32, or 1.3 percent, to $249.63. Health care is the worst-performing S&P 500 sector this year.

ACROBATIC: Adobe Systems, the software developer behind Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat reported better-than-expected results for the fiscal first quarter and raised its annual forecasts. The stock jumped $3.41, or 3.8 percent, to $93.37.

NEW RESERVATION: Starwood Hotels climbed $3.71, or 4.9 percent, to $80.10 after the hotel chain said it accepted a new buyout offer from a group led by Anbang Insurance Group of China. The bid is worth more than $14 billion. Competitor Marriott, which agreed to buy Starwood last year, said it is considering its options and noted it has the right to make another offer.

TAKE IT TO THE BANK: JPMorgan Chase said it will buy back another $1.88 billion in stock, while Bank of America announced an $800 million stock repurchase. Chase stock rose $1.53, or 2.6 percent, to $60.29 and Bank of America shares picked up 34 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $13.74. Financial stocks are also getting a boost from the recovery in oil prices. As energy prices tumbled, investors worried that some bank loans to energy companies wouldn’t get paid back.

OIL: Oil prices turned lower. Benchmark U.S. crude lost 76 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $39.44 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, gave up 34 cents to $41.20 a barrel in London. On Thursday U.S. crude closed over $40 per barrel for the first time since early December.

RALLY CAPS: The five-week climb has wiped out most of the market’s big losses from earlier in the year. The Dow and the S&P have both jumped about 12 percent since they hit annual lows Feb. 11. The price of U.S. crude is up 50 percent since then as investors have hoped production will slow down and demand won’t collapse. Energy and materials stocks have both climbed over the last month as oil and precious metals prices rose, while industrial, consumer and technology stocks have benefited from a more positive economic picture in the U.S.

THE QUOTE: Stocks plunged early this year as investors feared for the health of the U.S. economy and the global economy. They worried that the Fed was making a mistake in raising interest rates. But over the last few weeks, reports on hiring, manufacturing and construction spending showed the U.S. economy is doing fairly well.

“The market tended to focus on the negative and ignore the good,” said Lowell Yura, head of Multi-Asset Solutions for BMO Global Asset Management. When it comes to the U.S. economy, though, he said “not a lot’s changed” this year.

DOLLAR DIVES: The dollar has weakened since Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve said it expected the pace of interest rate increases to slow. It had strengthened dramatically over the last few years, partly because investors kept waiting for the Fed to start raising interest rates. When the dollar gets weaker, goods priced in U.S. dollars become more affordable overseas, so it’s good news for industrial companies with a large international presence.

Those stocks continued to rise Friday, with aircraft maker Boeing up $2.52, or 1.9 percent, to $133.22. Airlines also benefited, as the dollar has hurt their revenue overseas when it’s translated back into dollars. Delta Airlines advanced $1.38, or 2.8 percent, to $50.

METALS: Metals prices declined after a big jump on Thursday. Gold fell $10.70 to $1,254.30 an ounce. Silver lost 22 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $15.81 an ounce. Copper dipped 1 cent to $2.28 a pound.

OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline fell 1 cent to $1.43 a gallon. Heating oil lost 2 cents to $1.24 a gallon. Natural gas gave up 3 cents to $1.91 per 1,000 cubic feet.

OVERSEAS: Stocks overseas were mixed. Germany’s DAX rose 0.6 percent and France’s CAC 40 added 0.4 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.2 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.3 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.8 percent. The Shanghai Composite index in mainland China rose 1.7 percent.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Bond have also been rising in the wake of the Fed’s announcement, and on Friday the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note dipped to 1.87 percent from 1.90 percent. The euro fell to $1.1267 from $1.1316. The dollar inched up to 111.61 yen after closing at 111.50 yen Thursday.

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