US stocks end 5-day los­ing streak

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

U.S. stocks ended a down week on a high note Fri­day, snap­ping a five-day los­ing streak on the strength of en­ergy and fi­nan­cial com­pa­nies. A sharp re­bound in oil prices and an en­cour­ag­ing re­port on retail sales helped lift the stock mar­ket. De­spite the rally, the ma­jor U.S. stocks in­dexes ended the week down about 1 per­cent and they re­main down more than 8 per­cent for the year.

"It's a re­lief to see af­ter sev­eral very ugly days in a row, but I wouldn't hang my hat on it and say the worst is over," said Rob Eschweiler, global in­vest­ment spe­cial­ist at J.P. Mor­gan.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age rose 313.66 points, or 2 per­cent, to 15,973.84. The Stan­dard & Poor's 500 gained 35.70 points, or 2 per­cent, to 1,864.78. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite added 70.67 points, or 1.7 per­cent, to 4,337.51.

Global stocks have been in a slump since the be­gin­ning of the year on con­cerns that growth in China, which has been the en­gine of the global econ­omy in re­cent years, is slow­ing far faster than ex­pected. Plung­ing oil prices and low in­fla­tion have added to the mar­ket's jit­ters that the global econ­omy is sput­ter­ing.

Those wor­ries also helped drive the stock mar­ket lower in re­cent days, and con­tin­ued to bat­ter stocks in Asia. Ja­pan's main stock in­dex lost nearly 5 per­cent Fri­day. But the down­beat trend in the United States snapped as in­vestors were en­cour­aged by retail sales and a rally in Euro­pean stocks.

A surge in oil prices helped put in­vestors in a buy­ing mood early on. A day af­ter sink­ing to its low­est level since May 2003, bench­mark U.S. crude climbed $3.23, or 12.3 per­cent, to close at $29.44 a bar­rel in New York. Brent crude, a bench­mark for in­ter­na­tional oils, gained $3.30, or 11 per­cent, to $33.36 a bar­rel in Lon­don.

The oil re­bound sent the S&P 500's en­ergy com­pa­nies 2.6 per­cent higher. Marathon Oil was the best per­former in the sec­tor, ris­ing 48 cents, or 6.8 per­cent, to $7.49.

"Oil, which has been one of the most fickle, most volatile se­ries that ev­ery­body's watch­ing, is hav­ing a nice day," said Tim Dreil­ing, re­gional in­vest­ment di­rec­tor for The Pri­vate Client Re­serve of U.S. Bank. "Europe is con­tin­u­ing to look good. And it looked like [the mar­ket] was over­sold." Fi­nan­cial shares led the mar­ket's ad­vance. The sec­tor is the worst per­form­ing part of the mar­ket this year be­cause in­vestors ex­pect that low in­ter­est rates around the world will sap bank prof­its, but it ral­lied 4 per­cent Fri­day.

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