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U.S. stocks bounce back after 2-day slide

Traders work at the New York Stock Exchange

Traders work at the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan on Wednesday. Wall Street was poised for a solid opening on Friday with Dow futures up 0.3 percent and the broader S&P 500 futures 0.4 percent higher. (Feb. 20, 2013) Photo Credit: Bloomberg News

Strong earnings from big U.S. companies pushed the Dow Jones industrial average to a rare triple-digit gain Friday, but the S&P 500 index still posted its first weekly loss of the year.

The Dow closed up 119.95 points at 14,000.57 -- its third-biggest gain this year. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.88 percent to 1,515.60. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.97 percent to 3,161.82. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed slightly lower for the week, while the Dow edged higher.

Bill Stone, chief investment strategist with PNC Wealth Management, said he expects stocks to hold up despite this week's volatility.

"You're going to get bumps and bruises along the way, but we do believe things are actually getting better, so I think there's underlying demand" for stocks, Stone said.

Spooked investors sent stocks plunging Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting revealed disagreement over how long to keep buying bonds in an effort to boost the economy. The slide continued Thursday. The Dow lost 155 points over those two days.

Many analysts say the Fed's bond-buying and resulting low interest rates have driven this year's stock rally, which lifted indexes to their highest levels since before the 2008 financial crisis. The Dow is now just 164 points below its record close of 14,164 reached in October 2007.-- AP

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