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Stocks Close Higher, Led by Dow

Technology shares decline but Dow and S&P 500 rise to new peaks

U.S. stocks rose Friday and finished with big weekly gains, boosted by signs that the domestic economy is revving up.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1% after being down most of the session. The Nasdaq Composite lost 0.6%, led down by technology shares. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added about 291 points, or 0.9%. Both the Dow and S&P 500 ended the day at closing records.

The S&P 500 and Dow for the week gained around 2.6% and 4.1%, respectively. The Nasdaq added 3.1%.

Stocks have broadly rallied this week following a rebound in technology shares and growing appetite for sectors like banking and energy that would benefit from the economy rebounding. The week has been marked by big swings in stocks and government bonds.

There has also been a flurry of news that has boosted the outlook for the domestic economy. President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package on Thursday. He also said every adult in the U.S. will be able to get a vaccine by May 1. The moves are expected to accelerate the reopening and spur growth.

Fresh data on Friday showed that consumer sentiment in the U.S. increased in early March as more Americans have been vaccinated and job and income prospects have brightened. The preliminary estimate of the index of consumer sentiment compiled by the University of Michigan jumped to the highest since March 2020 and beat expectations.

“I expect a very robust recovery here in the short term,” said Dev Kantesaria, a managing partner at Valley Forge Capital Management. “I think it’s going to happen faster and harder than most people expect.”

On Friday, money managers again fled government bonds as their appetite for the safest assets waned. That sent yields ticking up and sapped demand for richly valued tech shares. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.626% in early trading Friday, from 1.525% the prior session.

“The bigger picture is, vaccines are going to create a sustainable reopening. That is what the market is reacting to,” said David Stubbs, global head of investment strategy at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. “You’re seeing a rapid reassessment of the macro environment.”

Megacap tech stocks including Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon.com declined. Tesla pared losses to finish the day down 0.8%, though it rebounded 16% this week.

Meanwhile, shares of retailers and airlines were among the biggest winners on Friday.

Bitcoin climbed to a record high, topping $58,700 in overnight trading. It has since pulled back about 5% to around $55,900.

Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 slipped 0.3%.

In Asia, most major benchmarks closed higher. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5%, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.7%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 2.2%.

A banner for South Korea’s Coupang adorned the New York Stock Exchange facade before the company’s IPO on Thursday. PHOTO: COURTNEY CROW/ASSOCIATED PRESS