S&P logs its best week of the year in the market


The stock market closed out its best week of the year Friday as investors focused on company earnings. (Brendan Mcdermid/REUTERS)
February 14

The stock market closed out its best week of the year Friday as investors focused on company earnings and brushed off another weak economic report.

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has wiped out almost all of its loss for the year after a big slump in January and is now just 10 points below its record close of 1848 reached Jan. 15. Stocks slumped last month because of concerns about the outlook for growth in China and other emerging markets and worries about the health of the U.S. economy.

“For all practical purposes, we’re back,” said Jonathan Golub, chief U.S. market strategist at RBC Capital Markets. “We’ve effectively recovered this pullback.”

The S&P rose 8.80 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1838.63. For the week, the index rose 2.3 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 126.80 points, or 0.8 percent, to 16,154.39. The Nasdaq composite rose 3.35 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,244.03, its highest close since July 2000.

The market got a lift Tuesday when Janet L. Yellen, the new head of the Federal Reserve, said she would continue the central bank’s low-interest rate policies and as Congress moved toward raising the U.S. borrowing limit without the political drama of last year.

The stock market started lower Friday following news that U.S. factory output fell sharply in January, as the recent cold spell ended five straight months of increased production. The Federal Reserve said factory production plunged 0.8 percent in January, following gains of 0.3 percent in both December and November.

Investors hope that much of the weakness seen in recent economic reports is due in large part to the unusually cold winter weather this year, said Kristina Hooper, U.S. investment strategist at Allianz Global Investors.

“Investors are choosing to look at very mixed data through a positive lens,” Hooper said.

By late morning, stocks had edged higher. They kept on rising throughout the day.

Among the big gainers, Campbell Soup rose $2.04, or 5 percent, to $43.01 after the company reported that its second-quarter profit and revenue came in above Wall Street’s expectations.

About 80 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported earnings for the fourth quarter, according to S&P Capital IQ. Earnings are forecast to rise 7.8 percent compared with the same period a year ago and 5.6 percent in the third quarter of 2013.

Among the day’s losers was Weight Watchers International, which plunged $8.48, or 27.7 percent, to $22.10 after reporting a big drop in earnings. The company also issued a weak earnings forecast, saying 2014 would be a “very challenging year.”

— Associated Press

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