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U.S. stocks rise on rebound in oil, strong company results

Trader Christopher Lotito, center, works on the floor

Trader Christopher Lotito, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, March 19, 2015. Credit: AP

Stocks were moving higher Friday as oil prices recovered from their decline the previous day. Strong earnings from Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants and Nike also helped lift the market. The Nasdaq composite index was close to reaching the all-time high it set at the height of the dot-com bubble.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 196 points, or 1 percent, to 18,155 as of 12:16 p.m. on Wall Street. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 20 points, or 1 percent, to 2,109 and the Nasdaq composite added 43 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,035.

The Nasdaq was less than 15 points from its record high of 5,048 it set in March 2000. It was taken the Nasdaq more than 15 years to recover from the dot-com bubble, while the S&P 500 and Dow recovered its losses in 2007 and 2006, respectively.

ENERGY: After dropping more than 3 percent Thursday, oil was up $1.45, or 3.2 percent, to $46.98 a barrel.

Energy stocks rose far more than the rest of the market. The S&P 500's energy sector gained 1.8 percent.

EARNINGS: Nike jumped $4.34, or 4.4 percent, to $102.67 after reporting quarterly results that beat expectations.

Darden rose $2.60, or 4 percent, to $67.42.

MALL MERGER: Simon Property Group raised its buyout offer for competitor Macerich to $95.50, but Simon said it was their "best and final offer." Simon Property rose $2.61, or 1.4 percent, to $194.69 while Macerich fell $3.75, or 4 percent, to $89.75. Investors had expected Simon to raise its offer more, and expect Macerich to walk away from the deal.

VOLATILITY: Four times a year, the stock market experiences a surge of buying and selling due to a phenomenon known as "quadruple witching," which is when four types of options and futures expire all at once, as they do on Friday. The phenomenon can cause volume to rise sharply in the last hour of the trading day.

U.S. ECONOMY: Sentiment was dampened by data Thursday showing that weekly applications for unemployment aid edged up last week. That came after stocks surged Wednesday on news the Federal Reserve was in no hurry to raise ultralow interest rates that have helped lift stock and bond prices.

CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 120.93 yen from Thursday's 120.76 yen. The euro rose to $1.0736 from the previous day's $1.0668.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.94 percent from 1.97 percent late Thursday.


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