U.S. stocks rally on central-bank hopes
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks on Friday climbed to their first back-to-back weekly gain in more than a month, on optimism for action by global central banks to stabilize markets if needed after Greek elections.
"It's startling to see it move higher on the amazing amount of uncertainty that surrounds this Greek election Sunday," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives with the Schwab Center for Financial Research.
"This market has held up remarkably well on the specter of more quantitative easing, whether it's an official QE3 type of announcement or an extension of Operation Twist" -- the Federal Reserve's bond-buying program, he added.
Up 1.7% for the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose 115.26 points, or 0.9%, to 12,767.17.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX) climbed 13.74 points, or 1%, to 1,342.84, up 1.3% from the week-ago close.
The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) added 36.47 points, or 1.3%, to 2,872.80.
Friday marked the first back-to-back weekly rises for the Dow and S&P since April, and for the Nasdaq since the end of March.
For every stock falling more than two gained on the New York Stock Exchange, where more than 1.5 billion shares traded. Composite volume neared 4.3 billion.
Crude for July delivery (CLN2) gained 12 cents to end at $84.03 a barrel, nearly unchanged on the week. The August contract for gold (GCQ2) rose $8.50 to settle at $1,627.10 an ounce, up more than 2% from the week-ago close.
U.S. data Friday illustrated slowing global growth, with the nation's industrial output weakening in May and with a gauge of manufacturing activity in the New York region slumping in June. Read more on industrial production.
"The industrial production numbers weren't good at all, neither were New York manufacturing. Part of the problem is the dollar has risen against the euro, that hurts exports," said Frederick.
The University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer-sentiment index fell to a preliminary June reading of 74.1 -- its lowest since December -- from 79.3 in May.
"Market volatility trumps lower gasoline prices is my take on that," Frederick said of the mood of the American consumer.
The dollar (DXY) fell against other global currencies, including the euro (EURUSD) , while the 10-year Treasury note yield (10_YEAR) used in determining mortgages and other consumer loans fell to 1.582%.
Investors were fixated on speculation that central banks would act to bolster economies in the face of Europe's growth-draining debt crisis. Read more on Greece.
Wall Street drew a late-session lift on Thursday after Reuters reported major central banks were readying for coordinated action if the outcome of Greek elections on Sunday proves to be a large strain on global financial markets.
On Friday, Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, said central banks were ready to step in to provide liquidity if needed, with his comments following Britain's government and central bank on Thursday unveiling emergency measures to help bolster loans to businesses hit by the narrowing of the credit market.
European Central Bank policy makers have overcome a main concern bout taking the benchmark interest rate below 1%, Bloomberg News reported, citing two euro-zone central bank officials.